"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Fireland - "Fireland" (CD)

Fireland - "Fireland" CD cover image

"Fireland" track listing:

1. Servants Of The Dark (4:43)
2. Star Crossed (4:24)
3. Gods Of Love (4:14)
4. My Eternal (4:04)
5. I Am Invisible (3:59)
6. In The Shadow Of The Sun (5:24)
7. Fallen (6:44)
8. Betrayed To The Night (6:59)
9. Coming Home (3:04)
10. In Her Strong Arms (4:52)
11. Little Pieces (3:00)
12. Window By Morning (5:13)

Reviewed by on March 26, 2009

"'Coming Home' is a fantastic traditional track that is what Metallica fans have been searching for, and 'My Eternal' also has some bite to it, with an ending that old school metal fans will like."

With all the sub-genres that continue to grow out of heavy metal, it’s a rare thing to find a new band that offers the classic, pure heavy metal sound of bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. It appears, however, that Ireland’s Fireland is attempting - at least in part - to do just that, with its debut self-titled album. The dual guitar metal act has a propensity for combining one chugging thrash guitar with one scale-climbing six stringer, and most of the time, it results in great, heavy instrumentals, complete with hard-hitting but simple drumbeats and plenty of triplets on the bass.

Unfortunately, Fireland has one major Achilles Heel – the vocals. While they may be earthy and raw on the opener, "Servants Of The Dark," and on "Little Pieces," they remain in the realm of melodic to the point of idiosyncratic on the rest of the album. With the exception of a few guttural, growling backup vocals in "My Eternal" and "In Her Strong Arms," the vocals are the type that make self-respecting fans of thrash want to pull out their hair. Even worse, the vocals aren’t that good, even for melodic. Especially on "Little Pieces," you can hear so much potential in the edgy, classic metal sound, that the incessant melodies make the track a real disappointment.

Having said that, the instrumentals pretty much throughout will make thrash and classic metal fans perfectly happy. "Coming Home" is a fantastic traditional track that is what Metallica fans have been searching for, and "My Eternal" also has some bite to it, with an ending that old school metal fans will like.

Of course, because this is Fireland’s first full album, the band is obviously still testing the waters and figuring out their sound. This is reflected in the nu metal track, "Betrayed To The Night," which will probably go over well with the Linkin Park crowd. While I may detest the rap element, it makes this song the most barrier-breaking track, and probably the most likely to end up on Ipods.

Then of course there’s "Fallen," which has a promising slowed down intro complete with tightly restrained strings and a sense of understated ballad, until the second half becomes something similar to the more mellow music from Avenged Sevenfold's last album.

I see a lot of potential in Fireland, if they will stick with a sound like that of their influences listed on the band website. The basic formula of heavy metal mixed with thrash is still a winning combination, and if Fireland is willing to embrace it, could make them a band to rival most of their European peers.

Highs: There’s a lot of classic heavy metal and thrash instrumental work on the album that will make purists very happy.

Lows: This is probably the only time you’ll hear me say it, but the vocals are too clean and melodic.

Bottom line: Fireland offers a double whammy of classic metal and old school thrash.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)