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FireForce is a Belgian power metal act formed in 2009. After releasing a promo/EP in 2009, they released their first formal album in 2011 titled "March On".
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FIREFORCE March On album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
March On
Power Metal 2011
FIREFORCE Deathbringer album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Power Metal 2014

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FIREFORCE Moonlight Lady album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Moonlight Lady
Power Metal 2009

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FIREFORCE Deathbringer

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
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Deathbringer (2014) is the second full-length album by Belgian power metal act FireForce. It's been three years since the band released their debut album March On (2011) and there's been a few changes in the FireForce camp. Chief among them with the exception of vocalist Filip "Flype" Lemmens and guitarist Erwin Suetens the band has changed personnel. They have also moved to Limb Music GmbH from 7hard Records.

The music on Deathbringer is for the most part a fairly traditionally styled brand of melodic power metal but it does also feature some strong traditional heavy metal leanings, but again there's nothing really unusual about that in a band like this. The instrumentation is competently played, but having heard more than a few power metal albums by this point isn't anything so remarkable that it makes me sit up and take note. It has plenty of energy though which in my opinion is the main thing for an album like this. It's a rare power metal act who sound revolutionary in 2014 anyway. The lyrics are also the sort of thing you might expect, covering themes such as battles, metal itself and mythology (specifically Egyptian with tracks such as Anubis - Lord of the Dead and Sekhmet - Warrior Goddess featured on the album).

Compared to other such power metal bands my impression of Flype's vocal style is that he has a raw edge to his singing voice that in some places can also be considered at least semi-aggressive. That's not exactly uncommon in power metal either once you scratch the surface of the genre. After all you get bands like Germany's Grave Digger who have long promoted power metal in a much rawer and aggressive style than that found on Deathbringer, which compared to the music of the legendary German band is actually quite well polished on the production front, which is just how most fans of the European style branch of the power metal genre demand it.

I wasn't exactly sold on Flype's voice at first, but after a few listens to Deathbringer I have to say that he grew on me. So what I'm about to say really has nothing to do with his singing ability, but there are times during the album where it sounds as though FireForce wrote music that is crying out for the clean, melodic and epic singing more common to power metal, seeing as the music itself is up to that standard. Or perhaps it's not the vocals but the music that is crying out for more aggression to the playing, perhaps even some thrash metal elements. Either way, there are definite instances where Flype seems at odds with the rest of the band. It's the shouted backing vocals though that offer the real hindrance to my enjoyment of Deathbringer. They're really quite irritating.

Deathbringer is a fun enough power metal album but at the end of the day it isn't quite as memorable or addictive as I'd like an album of this style to be. In fact it's only three songs, the title track, Combat Metal and Anubis - Lord of the Dead that stick with me after playing the album and in the case of Combat Metal it's for the wrong reasons as it features heavy use of those shouted backing vocals I mentioned. Overall a 3 star seems fair though.


Album · 2011 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Belgium has never had the biggest power metal scene out there, and Fireforce's recent signing on 7Hard Records hopes to shed some light on the budding scene. March On is the debut full-length from Fireforce, and is certainly a mixed bag of an album. Although the level of musicianship is unquestionably high and professional, the compositions are rarely very interesting and the vocals are a huge obstacle for me. There's an audience out there for Fireforce and their "balls-to-the-wall"-styled power metal, but there are way too many unavoidable flaws to guarantee many more repeat listens from me.

The music on March On is a fairly standard power metal affair. Fireforce clearly doesn't intend on breaking any boundaries, which isn't really a huge issue with me. My biggest problem here is the extremely trivial vocals from Flype. His tone is almost painful for me to listen to - he has talent, but his raspy and tortured vocals make for a rough listen. All of the musicians in Fireforce are clearly experienced and professional, but there's a bit lacking in the songwriting department. Seldom will you find tracks that stand out as something above the level of mediocrity. And when you do find such a track (like "Firestorm"), my experience is ruined by the unbearable vocals. With a different singer and a more distinct approach, I could see Fireforce doing something spectacular in the future. As far as this humble debut is concerned, it can be considered mediocre power metal music with a lack in identity and a few crippling flaws (e.g. vocals) that ultimately diminish much of my experience.

The production is an enormous positive to March On. It's not a terribly unique sound, but it gets the job done well. This is a very raw production with a heavy emphasis on the lower end (not at all unlike a few Iron Maiden productions).

March On is a decent album with capable instrumentalists and a great production, but I wonder if that's enough anymore. Fireforce's decidedly retro sound doesn't leave much room for experimentation, and the strength of the compositions also leaves a bit to be desired. Factor in the extremely weak vocals, and the end result is a less-than-satisfying power metal album. Die-hard fans of modern power metal may want to take a look into March On, but there've been plenty of other recent releases to track down before this one. 2.5 stars are the most I can give in this case. Hopefully Fireforce can make a few core improvements before their next effort.

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