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Fireball Ministry - "Fireball Ministry" (CD)

Fireball Ministry - "Fireball Ministry" CD cover image

"Fireball Ministry" track listing:

1. Hard Lines
2. Fallen Believers
3. Thought It Out
4. Followed By A Fall
5. Kick Back
6. Butcher, Faker, Policy Maker
7. End Of Story
8. Common Enemy
9. Sleeping With Angels
10. In Their Own Right

Reviewed by on October 14, 2010

"The band's party vibe — in which shaking your ass is every bit as important as banging your head — is aided greatly by the expert rhythm section of John G. Oreshnick on drums and Johnny Chow on bass."

Ever have one of those parties in which you're out of orange juice, but still have plenty of vodka — and plenty of people still looking to get their buzz on — and wind up making strange, screwdriver-ish drinks with everything from lemon-lime soda to grape and apple juice? Ever have one of those drinks work surprisingly well?

That's kind of the feeling you'll get when you listen to Fireball Ministry's self-titled fourth album. Their mix of mid-'70s Sabbath sludge and boogie-down party rock a la Grand Funk Railroad shouldn't work as well as it does. But, like that lime-grape screwdriver, it's oh-so-much better than the description would lead you to believe.

You can especially hear the Sabbath sound in the slow stomp of "Followed By A Fall," in which singer/guitarist Rev. James A. Rota II's upper range vocals are quite reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne, especially in the chorus that follows the brief guitar solo. More interesting, though, is "Kick Back," which combines a groovy boogie-rock riff with guitar fills that are vintage Iommi, circa "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath." It's to the credit of Rota and fellow guitarist Emily J. Burton that they're able to make that combination work.

The band's party vibe — in which shaking your ass is every bit as important as banging your head — is aided greatly by the expert rhythm section of John G. Oreshnick on drums and Johnny Chow on bass. Tracks like the excellent opener "Hard Lines" and the Priest-meets-AC/DC stomper "End Of Story" benefit immeasurably from their superb sense of swing.

Toward the end, there's a little bit of a slump, with two slower tracks ("Common Enemy" and "Sleeping With Angels") in a row, but the band comes roaring back with the speedier "In Their Own Right," which ends the disc in splendid style.

Fireball Ministry has toured with the likes of Anthrax and Motorhead in recent years, and has earned the admiration of folks like Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and L.A. Ink tattoo artist Kat Von D. One listen to their self-titled album, and you'll join the choir in singing the praises of the band — if you're not too busy rocking your ass off.

Highs: "Kick Back," "Followed By A Fall" and "In Their Own Right."

Lows: A small sequencing problem at the end creates a lull with two slow tunes in a row.

Bottom line: An excellent album that successfully mixes Sabbath-style heaviness with party rock.

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)