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On disc: City Of Fire

City Of Fire - Mike Thompson - 8 stars

City Of Fire

City Of Fire
(Candlelight Records - 2010)

Candlelight Records are handling the North American and UK releases for City Of Fire, the eponymous debut album from Fear Factory frontman Burton C Bell's latest side-project, which has been available through the band's website for quite some time now. Anyone expecting something akin to the singer's other band will be a little disappointed in this release but that is not to say it is without merit.
City Of Fire is actually a rather chilled out album. The best way of describing this album is to tell you to imagine a cross between Black Label Society style groove with Load-era Metallica and Fear Factory-lite. The opening track, Carve Your Name, is a fairly fast song which really doesn't prepare you for the album that much but does the trick of drawing you in and getting you interested.
Burton C Bell's voice is usually like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. Generally I am of the 'hate it' camp when I hear a Fear Factory song. However, in City Of Fire he seems to have found his place for me. His growl soar above the guitars and drums, delivering some punch when needed and he switches effortlessly to a clean style when it suits the song, when the mood of the album needs lifting. His voice definitely suits this style of music more in my opinion.
I wouldn't say there was anything that actually stands out in this album. The guitars, drumming and bass are all good without any instrument really shining. However, together they all manage to create a great atmosphere throughout, whether its in the faster songs like Carve Your Name and Coitus Interruptus, the Planet Caravan styling of Dark Tides or the beginning of Spirit Guide, the acoustic instrumental Emerald or the absolutely tremendous album closer Rain.
I really enjoyed this album. It really isn't what I expected at all and that's probably a good thing. Definitely one to get if you fancy some catchy but on the whole chilled out music to relax too. You may want to give the tracks a preview on the band's MySpace beforehand though.

8 stars

Mike Thompson


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