Melodic thrash metal legends are in the making. And in Ireland of all places
Put your hand up if you can name an Irish metal band. Come on... any at all. No? Well I shouldn't be surprised. Ireland is hardly renowned for it's contribution of bands to the metal scene, and there is a strong folk music stereotype to the country that vastly overshadows it's small metal culture. But not to worry. There is hope for the Irish yet. And that hope currently lies with one band who deliver a palette of epic, melodic thrash with their debut, self titled album. The band I speak of is Fireland, who's massively virtuose twin guitar attack will bring back memories of some of the greatest moments of thrash in the past twenty years.
Fireland contains thirteen tracks of powerful, epic thrash metal that sounds a lot like Ride The Lightning-era Metallica, with Megadeth's Dave Mustaine obviously having a strong influence on vocalist Andrew Baxter. It is clear that Fireland have attempted to create an album that is flawless and full of tracks that are capable of being big hits, but this is perhaps the biggest flaw of the album, one that I think Metallica have suffered from with their last few albums. The album doesn't feel natural. It feels over-produced and not raw enough to live up to the glorious sound that was heard back in the 80s. That aside, there are some great songs on the album. The intro is perhaps the best I have heard in a long time. A lot of bands have tried beginning their album with a melodic intro that is closely followed by a heavy metal onslaught and failed, but Fireland have achieved perfection with their powerful first impression. The vocals are clean, yet they have a hard rock edge to them, and the style suits the music perfectly to create a great harmony between them. Star Crossed shows more of the bands Metallica influence with a muted guitar riff behind the rhythm of one of the verses that sounds very similar to the one played by Kirk Hammett in For Whom the Bell Tolls. All of the songs have a melodic flow to them, but songs such as In The Shadow Of The Sun and Gods Of Love display a darker sound, and tracks such as Betrayed To The Night and the final track (which is strangely unlisted on the album artwork) display a nu-metal vocal style that is semi-rapped. Of course there has to be an acoustic ballad on the album, in the form of Fallen, which is beautifully written and sung, and the lead guitar comes in with perfect timings to really boost the emotion.
With the recent re-emergence of thrash, there is no shortage of bands contesting for the greatest fan base in the genre. Whereas these bands are all bringing something new to the platter, Fireland stick to a tried and try style that closely follows it's influences. Although this may be a remark against them, they have managed to create an album of skilfully written and performed songs that open minded thrash fans are sure to love, and all without yet being signed. For those that still aren't convinced of Metallica's comeback, maybe you should give Fireland a try.