@planetmosh reviews Born For The Gallows by .@FirebrandSuperR out on .@wastedstate records.
Two years on since the release of their self-titled debut album and you can hear just how much Firebrand Super Rock have grown. Not only have they been making waves on the live scene playing the likes of Bloodstock and Hammerfest along with supporting heavyweights such as Slayer, Trivium, Mastodon and Amon Amarth but they have also had to contend with integrating a new drummer into their line-up. The result of all this? An album that I just cannot stop listening to.
Right off the bat you can’t help but have an image in your head of how this is going to sound purely from the cover art. It conjures images of metal from the 70s, Sabbath in particular. It has a brooding, dark feel to it that is replicated perfectly in the opening track Sentinel Hill. Hats off to Firebrand too for having faith in hitting you with such a huge track to open the album with. It stomps all over you and also introduces you to the utterly entrancing vocals of Laura Donnelly.
I cannot say enough good things about how amazing and powerful her vocals are. She’s how I would imagine the lovechild of Doro Pesch and Bruce Dickinson would sound. They are haunting, aggressive, soaring and raw but above all hypnotic. Her vocals play a huge part in making this album so listenable.
But one vocalist does not a great band make. She’s backed by an absolutely solid bunch of musicians in the band with new recruit LA Conway’s drumming and Frazer Marr’s bass providing the foundations that allow both her and guitarist Jamie Gilchrist to let loose. Beyond the Final Gate shows this brilliantly after the stomp of Sentinel Hill, adding pace while still keeping that heavy groove intact. They even pull in some Slayer styled riffage to close out the track to great effect.
What I love so much about this album too is its construction and design. Each track flows perfectly into the next. We slip superbly from stoner groove to classic metal to haunting progressive to thrash styled musings all the while keeping that chunky, full-on feel. And oh my… that chunky, full-on feel is just huge, especially when it’s coupled with Laura Donnelly going full tilt on the likes of Re-Animator and Shadow of the Witch (both to me are probably my favourites on the album) or Descent Into Madness.[amazonmp3 asin=”B00HK23B8E”]
I mentioned at the start that opener Sentinel Hill was huge, but it certainly isn’t the only one on the album with that feel. In contrast to the kick up in pace from those above we get to hear a more expansive side to Firebrand too. There’s atmosphere in spades in Lost at Sea, a huge doom-laden grind in Addict and the waltz of Discordia finishes not only with an incredible solo run by Jamie Gilchrist, but also a swinging groove that is so cool you never want it to end. All of this shows just how much the band’s sound has matured in the past few years.
All this and I haven’t even mentioned the haunting beauty of the epic closing track, When Worlds Collide. Its truly other-worldly, its entrancing and beautiful. It also rips right into a sprawling masterpiece of progressive heavy grooving and soaring melody before crushing you relentlessly at the end. Yeah, it’s a pretty damn awesome way to end the album indeed!
As you can probably tell, I loved it just a wee bit. It’s an eclectic mix of gargantuan grooving riffs, stoner prog pieces, epic soaring vocals and killer solos coming together to make a damn near perfect album. Nah, you know what, scratch that. It is perfect.
Born for the Gallows is available now on Wasted State Records
1. Sentinel Hill
2. Beyond The Final Gate
3. Lost At Sea
5. Shadow of the Witch
9. Descent Into Madness
10. When Worlds Collide
Firebrand Super Rock are:
Laura Donnelly – Vocals
Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar
Frazer Marr – Bass
LA Conway – Drums