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Fireforce - March On (CD) Award winner

March On
by Jonathan Maphet at 25 February 2011, 2:02 PM

FIREFORCE is hailed in their promo sheet as being “True Power Metal” and that is exactly what they are; Finally, an end to false praise and information. Β This is old school power metal. You won’t find any keyboards and symphonies or epic choirs. It is raw and in your face. Almost all of the songs deal with two aspects; battle and metal itself. Is it Cliche? Who cares? I don’t want to hear that crap. This is outstanding. It is irrelevant if it’s been done similarly before. Everyone in the band plays his part to perfection. The crunch of the guitars is excellent and the bass blends in seamlessly. The drums are played well, but they could have a fatter sound, a little more punch to them. I simply cannot convey enough how excellent the song topics fit the genre. They did a wonderful job in naming the songs using the appropriate content and fitting the lyrics to them. They have a song about the ancient Egyptian God, Horus, and it is very catchy and the tempo is fast and to the point. Horus is described as the sky God, the God of war and the savior. The lyrics convey all these aspects. It is a tremendous song, even if the chorus is a bit repetitive. The singer has a unique sound, but it suits the rawness of the music perfectly.

In the song “1302 Battle of Freedom” the band is singing about the historical battle entitled: “The Battle of the golden spurs”, in which France went to war to subdue the Flemish people. It is wonderful to hear historical battles brought to life in music as opposed to just the simple, “Fighting with glory and might” that you usually hear and isn’t about any specific battle, just fighting in general. I find this to be refreshing. There is another song that is also about a historical event. The song is called “Fly Arrow Fly” (Crecy 1346) in which King Edward III of England and Phillip IV of France went to war, this was a very important battle of the “Hundred Years’ War.” The English won this battle easily. It seems that FIREFORCE has some history majors in their band. It amazes me that such effort was put into the songs. You have real factual elements to these songs and not just a generic battle song.

The song “Moonlight Lady” is outstanding. The guitar lead intro is fast and melodic and quickly turns into a speed metal song. The riffing in this song seems to have a backing element of either a bass guitar or a sound effect from a synthesizer. It is hard to tell which it is so I will just go with it being bass with perhaps an effects pedal. It really provides structure and fills in the wall of sound vibe of the song. I like the guitar solo intros to a couple of songs that are followed by the riffs increasing in speed and then the drums go nuts with the double bass pedal usage and some rapid Tom and Snare hits, simply awesome. The production is raw, but by no means does this mean it is subpar. They managed through the production and usage of traditional instrumentation to turn this album into something that could have very easily have come from the 80’s, and none of it seems forced .These guys are playing like the last 15 to 20 years never happened and I love it. They have a song entitled “Mona Lisa” and it isn’t a ballad. I actually laughed out loud at that aspect. Who in their right mind would think a song about the world famous painting would be fast power metal? It certainly fooled me.

The last three songs are about the “metal” genre with the word “metal” being used a few dozen times. I know this is where some of my counterparts would call the songs “nothing new” or even “cheesy”. I don’t agree. Power metal is a genre that is proud of itself and they are going to be singing about loving and playing metal until death. Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me. It sure beats hearing about Satan or Jesus for the millionth time. “Born to Play Metal” is a great power metal song. This song defines the genre in a little over three minutes. If you think it is lame, then ignore it. There are other things for you to buy, but don’t bash these guys. This music is coming from the heart. You can hear their sincerity in every song. The last song is an instrumental and isn’t anything very special, but it has that raw energy that made people head bang and mosh back in the early glory days of thrash. I can’t help but smile as it plays. The song reminds me of something David T. Chastain would play. I remember hearing him play live back in the late 80’s and early 90’s in dives that masqueraded as clubs in Cincinnati. Those were great times, and I love the fact that FIREFORCE has taken me back to a time that I will forever cherish.

Overall, if you love power metal, I can’t recommend this album highly enough. You do not get the finely polished production of RHAPSODY OF FIRE or GAMMA RAY, but you do get songs similar in sound the HELLOWEEN album “Walls of Jericho”. I can understand some people being turned off by how raw the distortion is on the guitar, but to me it is very in tune to what they are trying to accomplish with “March On”. Whatever you do, don’t pass up on the chance to at least listen to the band, even if you aren’t sure of making a purchase. I understand times are tough, but when new bands like this get it right, they deserve to be rewarded. It was a pleasure to review this great new band.

4 Star Rating

01. Coastal Battery
02. The Only Way
03. Firestorm
04. Horus (Bringer of Order)
05. 1302 - Battle for Freedom
06. Moonlight Lady
07. Annihilation
08. Fly Arrow Fly (Crecy 1346)
09. Mona Lisa
10. Hold Your Ground
11. Born To Play Metal
12. Metal Rages On
Erwin Suetens - Guitars
Flype - Vocals
Metalpat - Bass
Steve Deleu - Guitars
Tom Heijnen - Drums
Record Label: 7Hard


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Edited 03 February 2023

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