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FireForce – Rage Of War

FireForce
Rage Of War
by Rachel Montgomery at 29 December 2020, 2:59 PM

Are you into more American-style power metal that invokes a sword and sorcery feel without the ham and cheese of European power metal? Look no further than FIREFORCE, whose latest album is a subtle power metal concoction that should please fans of American-style power metal. Sticking to their own style, the band provides their listeners with some great listening and an onslaught of militaristic, well-crafted metal.

The opening track, “Rage Of War”, treats us to an onslaught of metal from the get-go. Granted, they didn’t call this album “Calm Of Peace” and need to show it with the first few hard-hitting notes. The song introduces us to a couple raging melodies, all fast, all showcasing the power behind the guitars and the gravely vocals. The guitars in the first verse simulate gunfire. The screeching vocals are an interesting touch and they’re just far enough back to not be obnoxious or overpowering.

The second track, “March Or Die” is what it says on the tin, relentless and militaristic, painting a modern picture of war by describing soldiers in the desert. The third track, “Ram It” is the most melodic, with a beautiful melody featured in the chorus. The voice is strained at parts, but it’s barely noticeable (so it’s a nitpick). The solo is intriguing, especially since it goes from a slow, soaring melody to fast sweeps and thrashes. “Firepanzer” and “Running” start off strong, but they aren’t exactly this groups best attempts at power metal. The vocals are gravelly (and awesome), but they’re better suited for a different style. Also, the hook in the latter song’s hook gets old after a while. However, both songs reminded me of GRAND MAGUS in a strange way.

Forever In Time” is FireForce’s attempt at a slow song and for my taste, the chorus is solid, but the verse is lacking. The slow songs on these albums are great opportunities for bands to show off their more complex, intricate sides. The belting in the verse makes me wince. However, the crooning on top of the more complex harmonies in the chorus compensate.

The second half of the album is more hard-hitting, so for this band, it’s better. “108-118” has the best guitar solo on the album, making use of a unique melody, melody changes, and sweeps to create a delicious treat for any metalhead’s ears. “Army Of Ghosts” begins with some rocking ambiance and a sweet helicopter guitar. The echoing backup vocals in the verse are also a nice touch, really painting the idea of a ghost army in the song – the howling guitar is the cherry on top. The vocals can be a bit too gravelly for the feel of the song, specifically in the verses, but it’s minor in comparison to the good stuff here. The band also plays with guitar licks and melodies beautifully here. The vinyl-excusive track, “Tale of The Dead”, is a steady ballad leaving us with more imagery of the desert, transforming the war narrative of the album into a sword-and-sorcery anthem with a good-old-fashioned closer to Side B.

Overall, I like the unity of the thematic elements. The militaristic style is evident throughout the album. While a slow, soft song seems like a requisite, “Forever In Time” can either go or get more of an edge in the verses. Other than that, if you’re a fan of the more anthemic style of power metal, this could go in your playlist. Bonus tip: for everyone playing the new Warcraft expansion and sailing through Maldraxxus, the land of zombies and Frankenstein constructs made for battle, this is a solid listening choice (Necrolords ftw!).

Songwriting: 8
Production: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Rage Of War
2. March Or Die
3. Ram It
4. Firepanzer
5. Running
6. Forever In Time
7. 108-118
8. Army Of Ghosts
9. Rats In A Maze
10. A Price To Pay
11. From Scout To Liberator
12. Blood Judge
13. Tale of The Dead
Lineup:
Matt “Hawk” Asselberghs - Vocals, Guitars
Erwin Suetens - Guitars
Serge Bastaens - Bass
Christophe De Combe - Drums
Record Label: ROAR! ROCK OF ANGELS RECORDS
     


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