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On disc: FireForce

March On - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

March On

March On
(7Hard Records - 2011)

FireForce are a new band from Belgium which started 2009 and is now presenting their debut album March On. The cover indicates that we'll get a dose of 80's heavy metal la Crossfire - to name a Belgium band - and early Helloween and Grim Reaper. FireForce aren't youngsters who just make the first step into limelight, if you take a closer look at the line-up you'll find members of Double Diamond in their ranks. Drummer Tom Heijnen as well as the guitarists Erwin Suetens and Steve Deleu were part of Double Diamond.
The album opener Coastal Battery has a slight thrashy touch, but reminds me a lot of early Helloween, I'm talking about the time when Kai Hansen was still handling the vocals. And the gang shouts are really 80's!
The Only Way is a heavy metal tune with some double-bass drum parts, heavy riffing. But in the FireForce sound you will also find reminiscences to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The opening guitar passage of Firestorm has a dash Michael Schenker in it... But FireForce sound heavier, partly due to Flype's raspy, dark vocals. Songs like Horus (Bringer Of Order) and 1302 - Battle Of Freedom revive 80's heavy metal, so everybody who loves the 80's heavy metal won't be disappointed by FireForce. The Belgium guys know how to play and they obviously love this sound. They hired R.D. Liapakis to produce the album who gives the songs the clear sound they need and the power, but didn't polished it up too much. The dual leads of Moonlight Lady and the vocals make me think of early Helloween again... Including the slower passage. Just pure fun. But I still love the first Helloween releases, so I'm not objective!
At Hold Your Ground they add a catchy vocal line, but it's still a guitar-driven tune with 80's gang shouts. So don't expect something balladesque! With Born To Play Metal they deliver a fast metal tune which is a simple statement, and one nobody will doubt. The closer Metal Rages On is like a promise that they will keep metal - the way they like to play metal - alive. And if you don't like instrumentals, then just stop the CD or replay it.
Sure, this isn't anything new, you get 80's heavy metal, but if this is your favorite sound, then it's a real treat!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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