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Fireland – Forged in Fire IV: Forged in Fire Award winner

Forged in Fire IV: Forged in Fire
by Rachel Montgomery at 23 July 2019, 2:01 PM

FIRELAND’s third studio album is fourth in a series titled “Forged in Fire”. Hailing from Belfast, FIRELAND has been going steady since 2003, releasing four albums since their self-titled album in 2008. How does this one hold up? While some small parts are hit-or-miss, it’s mostly got some wonderful melodic stuff, and I’m glad I discovered this band. The track opens with some nice piano intro and then leads into high-pitched guitars and rolling drums. The vocalist is clear, operatic, and stays in a range he can handle. However, since he only stays mid-range, there’s really not a lot of variety in the singing nor is there variety in the guitar playing. The Thrash solo is good, but overall, the opener isn’t a song to write home about.

There’s some nice collaboration between the lead and rhythm guitarist in the intro. Also, more variety in the vocals is much appreciated; the singer reminds me of Tony Kakko of SONATA ARCTICA fame on this track. “Banished” begins with some nice piano and broken guitar chords. The chorus roars the music up and beings in a female vocalist. Her voice is good, but it’s a little nasally; despite this, I love the instrumentals in the chorus. The harmonies between the singers can be really nice. This song makes me want to rock out, and so far, it’s my favorite on the album.

Let the Witch Out” begins with some nice sea-shanty acoustics and a chorus which it continues through the song. It’s a solid, thematic ballad with some wonderful harmonies. It showcases what the band can do melodically and doesn’t disappoint. The solo, featuring really nice piano work harmonizes well with the acoustics and while it’s short, it’s beautiful! The album then goes right back into Thrash with “Rule 13”. Honestly, I’m more of a fan of the vocalist when the music is less intense; when he speak-sings, it can get monotonous. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but I like it better when he has some melodic room to expand his range rather than when he has to yell-sing along with heavier instrumentals. The Thrash in the guitar solo is pretty good, and it has some nice sweeps.

Carve My Name in Stone” features some lovely piano work and some nice, slow instrumentals, the vocalist is getting pitchy in places, namely in the beginning when he’s in his upper register (pitchy vocals are common in upper registers, even in good ones). However, I love the climbing, melodic guitar solo, as well as the harmony at the end of the song. The scene-setting beginning of “Fallen III” serves as a good interlude between the last song and this harder, more melodic one. The soaring harmonies and overall musical play between the leading and backup vocals make this an interesting, nice-sounding piece.

Winged Victory” begins with a nice, climbing guitar chord and clear vocals that convey the story of the song clearly. The song doesn’t have a lot of variety in it; it’s a simple, but well-executed song. The complexities come in the guitar solo that changes melodies a couple times. Despite its simplicity, it’s still a solid, melodic song. The ambiance at the beginning of “Battlefield” sounds like an engine revving up, going into some heavy instrumentals in the intro. The vocalist is good in his upper register here; bombastic, theatrical, while preserving some good technical ability. This is my favorite heavy song off the album – everything is clear, and it’s Thrash-y while still maintaining its melodic strengths.

The next track is another simple one, but it showcases the vocalist’s range well. At its heart, it’s a tuned down guitar, fist-pumping anthem that has some nice, melodic touches in the heaviness. The solo has some nice sweeps and carries a heavy, screeching melody throughout. The closing track, “Hurricane”, combines the melodic and anthemic Thrash found on this album into an eerie conclusion. From machine-gun guitar riffs, sweeping guitar solos, soaring vocals, and an echoing chorus, it doesn’t quite pull out all the stops, but it stands on its own and thereby brings the album to a good close.

Overall, they’re good. Of the albums that I’ve listened to reviewing for Metal Temple, this sounds the most like the ones I listened to in high school. I wouldn’t say it’s as bombastic, or as memorable, but that’s not a deal-breaker; my high school days were when NIGHTWISH, BLIND GUARDIAN, DRAGONLAND and all the greats of European Power Metal were in their heyday and they set a bar that can’t be topped. If you’re into European Power Metal bands from the 2000s and want to hear some new stuff in that style, these guys are very worth checking out.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Evil Voyage
2. Dragon Slayer
3. Banished (ft. Mariko Gray)
4. Let the Witch Out
5. Rule 13
6. Carve My Name in Stone
7. Fallen III
8. Winged Victory
9. Battlefield
10. NDE
11. Hurricane
David Brown – Vocals
Steve Moore – Guitars
Christ Mawhinney – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 21 March 2023

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