Nima : Ever since the release of their ‘Moonlight Lady’ EP (2009) and the release of their debut LP, ’March On’, Belgium’s Fireforce has been working their way to the top. And they’re doing it well, I must add. With the debut and the equally powerful successor, ‘Deatgbringer’, and their many live performances the quintet is certainly no stranger in the (European) heavy metal underground. And with their newest arsenal, ‘Annihilate The Evil’, they will only establish their name and reputation further.
The third LP (fortunately) doesn’t contain any surprises or unexpected turns, but the gentlemen simply continue doing what they do best, and that is old-school heavy/speed and power metal. The band has again taken the best from the NWOBHM and Teutonic heavy/speed metal, and molten it together into one chunk of pure, heroic, militant heavy metal that constantly invites you to throw your fist in the air and train your neck muscles. Traditionally that album explodes with a speed smasher and makes clear what this band’s driving force is: METAL. And so opener ‘Boys From Down Under’ has everything we’re used to fro the Force, and the metal frenzy is immediately a fact. During the following 50 minutes that mood is kept intact and the gentlemen deliver the one cool, catchy riff, melody and vocal line after another. The influences by colleagues such as Maiden, Priest, Raven, Accept, Grave Digger, Running Wild, Paragon, Mystic Prophecy and countless similar steel warriors are again quite obvious, but Fireforce has rather developed its own sound over the years.
Although ‘Annihilate The Evil’ is a typical Fireforce album, it strikes me that the gentlemen come with a slightly different approach. The album definitely doesn’t lack speed and aggression, but is somewhat more melodic and especially more diverse than before in general. Therefore the compositions seem a bit more complex. Because of that – and despite the fact the music is immediately catchy – unlike its predecessors the album requires more spins in order to come into its own and to fully convince. But that is only positive, because there the gentlemen hit the nail wrong on a couple of tracks on ‘Deathbringer’, they seem to have found a better balance in the whole thing on this record. Still I must admit that the band convinces more with the speed metal riffs and the sturdy headbangers, rather than the melodic pieces. But that of course is a matter of personal taste and preference and changes nothing about the fact that the band has delivered a number of solid tracks, with ‘Dog Soldiers’, ‘Thyra’s Wall’, ‘The Iron Brigade’, ‘Herkus Mantas’ and the earlier-mentioned opening track as highlights. The total picture sounds quite heavy and massive (but not over-produced) and all in all ‘Annihilate The Evil’ is a great album of its kind. Along with the eleven original compositions we also get a damn cool, metal version of Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’, which in my opinion completely blows away the original. Fans of the earlier works, and fans of (EU-)heavy/power metal should definitely give ‘Annihilate The Evil’ a shot.