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Brother Firetribe - "Diamond In The Firepit" (CD)

Brother Firetribe - "Diamond In The Firepit" CD cover image

"Diamond In The Firepit" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Love's Not Enough
3. Far Away From Love
4. For Better or For Worse
5. Desperately
6. Edge of Forever
7. Hanging By a Thread
8. Trail of Tears
9. Winner Takes it All
10. Tired of Dreaming
11. Reality Bites
12. Close to the Bone

Reviewed by on May 5, 2014

"The Finnish act presents a great balance of very light overtones overriding some heavy undertones to make a punchy and high energy hard rock, but the songs hearken back to the days when Journey ruled the airwaves and arena rock filled concert halls."

Brother Firetribe, the AOR/hard rock side band of Nightwish guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, is back after a five year absence (2008’s “Heart Full of Fire”) with a third effort (remember the “False Metal” debut was repackaged as “Break Out”). For an author that likes to genre jump all over the spectrum of rock and heavy music, you get a rather unique perspective of “Diamond in the Firepit” after a seven day sabbatical of old school death metal. Thought it seems like Bon Jovi after Dismember, Brother Firetribe has such a collection of great songwriters that it proves over and over that good music is sometimes just good music no matter which way it hits you. With “Diamond in the Firepit,” the Finnish act presents a great balance of very light overtones overriding some heavy undertones to make a punchy and high energy hard rock, but the songs hearken back to the days when Journey ruled the airwaves and arena rock filled concert halls.

In terms of songwriting, it helps when you have proven songwriters that run the gambit of music as well, which, in addition to Vuorinen, consists of vocalist Pekka Heino of absolutely superb power act Leverage, keyboardist Tomppa Nikulainen (who helped out with the songwriting on The Magnificent’s debut album) bassist Jason Flinck (who sings for the progressive band Kings of Modesty) and drummer Kalle Torniainen. Sometimes when a group of excellent songwriters tackle a specific and targeted genre like AOR, it comes across a little forced and trite, but this isn’t the case with Brother Firetribe. With elements of rock, hard rock, and a tinge of progressive, the songs have tremendous weight despite their “light” appearance. I have found that the quality of hard rock and AOR acts has consistently been better since the days when it reigned over the radio airwaves and a bottle of Aqua Net was more of a pre-requisite than a guitar.

Examples of the album’s best offerings include the charging anthem “Reality Bites,” the rocking closer “Close to the Bone” and the Bon Jovi-esque “Edge of Forever” – all of which ratchet up the cheese, but they are just oh so catchy! It’s the kind of stuff that sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a ride down memory lane, when life isn’t so complicated and music is about fun and good feelings. Songs like “Hanging by a Thread,” “Trail of Tears,” and “Love is Not Enough” really do come across like a soundtrack to summer. The sound of that is enough to send the death metal addict into convulsions, but life truly is all about balance and having both extremes matters, especially to fans willing to accept it all.

Don’t cower away from the lighter side of music, because songs like “Winner Take All” prove that Brother Firetribe back up the songwriting with fantastic musicianship. The song sports one of the best guitar and bass solos on the album, even for guitar aficionados not too keen on AOR material. It’s a big sound and its bound together nicely by Heino, whose work with Leverage is outstanding, but gets to open up his voice to a much broader range of material here with Brother Firetribe. Fans of AOR and hard rock need to take notice of this top shelf band.

Highs: Top shelf AOR/hard rock from some of the best Finnish musicians in the scene.

Lows: If cheese laden AOR and big arena rock aren't your thing, steer clear.

Bottom line: "False metal" never felt this good...Brother Firetribe stokes the firepit and produces a diamond.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)