Last year I got blown away by the 'Fires of Life' debut by this Chigago based
band and much to my surprise here is already their second album. The bombastic
orchestral intro of the song "Be Dead or Die" sounds very promising and the
first song is nice indeed, but I miss something I liked very much about the
debut album, but I can't figure out yet what it is. Parker Jameson's
aggressive singing style hasn't changed, but what the hell happens in the second
song? Why, why is this band doing what the lot already are doing for years? Why
introducing a normal cleaner singing style? I know you have to develop as a band
and I'm sure most of the fans will find this o.k., but for me personally....no...
On the debut the band sounded different from a lot of other bands, but by
introducing cleaner singing they have begun to sound like so many other bands.
Another part I miss is the guitar soli in Dragonforce style and I have the idea
that the first album had more orchestral pieces. Although that is
compensated a bit on the second part. The band skipped some things I liked so
much on the first album, so to me this album is a little disappointment. On top
of that they have introduced cleaner singing parts in the music, which aren't an
improvement for me. What's left are the very fast songs, the aggressive riffs,
the majestic keys and the fast tasty guitar soli all over the album.
Fortunately the band still uses some classic kind of influences, like in "Breaking
the Madness", which combines fast heavy parts with slower orchestral
arrangements and then the music reminds me of the debut album indeed, but just
when I start to get enthusiastic again, the clean singing starts ... Don't get
me wrong, it isn't bad but for me the music of the band just didn't need that,
but songwriter of the band Parker Jameson thought different and it is his music...
On the debut I couldn't find a bad song, but on this album there are at least
two I don't find that strong or special. "Virus of the Mind" is an average kind
of balladesk track with nothing really special and "Before Hope Fades" doesn't
make me really wild either. Fortunately there are still songs that make me
enthusiastic; "Into Destiny" is one of them, a very fast song with amazing
blastbeats and with orchestral parts making me think of the debut again; Dimmu
Borgir, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Nightwish, Children of Bodem and Arch Enemy
influences combined. Also the solo in the song is really nice. After the for me
disappointing start I get a bit used to the style changes and one of the best
songs "God of the World" passes by. A variable track with almost impossible fast
parts, with excellent aggressive vocals, a very bombastic second part on
marching tempo and awesome guitar soli.
Well, I have to come to my final conclusion and that is one with two faces: I
think there will be a lot of metal fans that really like this album and it surely
is a good album, but personally I am not that enthusiastic. With introducing the
cleaner singing parts and banning almost all the Dragonforce shredding the band
has lost the two elements that made them different from a lot of other bands. For the
band a rather logical development and perhaps with the idea to play a more
original style. The songs also sound less chaotic and more balanced, but I
actually liked that ADHD part. The big surprise I felt listening to their
debut didn't arise this time, but I'm sure that this album will score well with
I think that I would have given the band a higher rating if I didn't know the
debut, but sadly enough for the band I do.