As this album came through to be reviewed the feeling and inner groan was not the most positive one has to be honest, nothing against the band who were completely new to these ears and awareness, but the fact this was a classic heavy metal band, a genre that is as appealing here as Bieber singing lullabies outside the window in the dead of night, even the band’s name Firebrand Super Rock hardly inspires enthusiasm. But wonderfully those thoughts and expectations were thrust firmly where the sun has no access as the Edinburgh quartet and their self titled album proved a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There is still not a conversion to the classic side here but certainly the release reminds one that you can and should never judge until letting sounds play within the ear a few times.
Firebrand Super Rock is not a classic nor does it bring any new ground breaking sounds to the ear but what it does do is deliver songs that eagerly please and tempt the senses whilst being skilfully and impressively varied within its overall rock sound. The core element of their sound comes from NWOBHM but to this there are distinct elements of metal, southern rock, even traces of sludge metal seeping out of the rock textures the band create. This results in songs that ripple with enterprising diversity even if overall the songs are heavy metal hearted. There is more than enough to intrigue and engage even the more adverse attitudes to the genre, yes holding hands up here and admitting this is one rather decent album.
Since forming in 2004 Firebrand Super Rock have impressed and pulled in strong acclaim and support through constantly gigging their dynamic live show and sharing stages alongside the likes of Slayer, Trivium, Mastodon and Amon Amarth and festival appearances such as Bloodstock Open Air and Hammerfest. The album gives evidence that live the quartet of vocalist Laura Donnelly, guitarist Jamie Gilchrist, bassist Frazer Marr, and Andy Scott on drums, should be one exciting and explosive proposition. Signing with Rising Records this year the new album is the worldwide re-release of their debut and the chance to finally stretch their might far afield.
On Firebrand Super Rock the band are no slouches either, the release stirring and rampant with thundering riffs, incisively cutting melodies and glorious soaring vocals from Donnelly, from opening track ‘River Of The Dead’ the band leap at the ear never letting go until the closing seconds of the triumphant stroll of closer ‘Cleansed By Fire’. Each song offers something different and engaging as well as sumptuous heavy riffage, metallic intensity and razor sharp melodies and solos. ‘Into The Black’ with the impressive bass of Marr dripping dark intent something he blesses the whole album with, ‘Iron Void’ with southern touches bands like Down would be proud of, and the best track on the release ‘Falling Down’ all excite and rile up the heart, the latter especially with its intensive riffs, acidic guitars and energised melodies.
For someone with a natural aversion to the genre Firebrand Super Rock has done nothing but impress. It will not make the top ten releases or go down as an essential listen here but it is an album that one can easily revisit often and eagerly. For all lovers of classic/heavy metal this is a must check out and though Firebrand Super Rock have yet to truly find their own sound their obvious craft and imagination shows that it will not be long before the band become distinctly unique and their name on most lips.