"The Second Great Awakening" (Nuclear Blast; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Fireball Ministry's "The Second Great Awakening" is my first experience with the band and I must say it is pretty good. The music is tight and very well done and also shows a maturity level not often found in today metal scene. The songs draw you in and keep you going throughout the entire release. 

However, I must say I did not really care for the vocals. I found them to be too soft and not really fitting for this rock'n'roll / metal outfit. Fireball Ministry is a very talented and motivated band and what they do, they do very well. In fact, if were not for the ovelry mild vocal style, this CD would rate a perfect three guitarsaws. But the vocals just didn't work for me and, hence, they score a strong three. 

Fireball Ministry: Rev. James A. Rota II - guitar and vocals; Janie Tanaka - bass; Emily Burton - guitar; John Oreshnick - drums.

For more information, check out  

"FMEP" (Small Stone Records)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I first came across Fireball Ministry back in 2001 when the band opened for the Mighty Motorhead at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Back then, I described their live sound as "a cross between Judas Priest and Molly Hatchet but with a perhaps more modern incendiary twist." Listening to "FMEP," I won't say that my description of their live sound was wrong (they really did sound like "Judas Hatchet," at least live) but their recorded sound is considerably different.

"FMEP" is loaded with heavy, fuzz-ridden guitar, pounding, pulsating rhythms and strange, sometimes ethereal vocals. Yeah, you'd probably call it stoner rock if you had to give it a label, but I think it's heavier and more driving than that. 

The CD begins with the sauntering and heavenly chunky "King," segues into the very Black Sabbath-y "Choker" and then into the psychedelic "Maidens of Venus." Just when you think you've got the band figured out, they hit you with a blistering cover of Alice Cooper's "Muscle of Love," and then - like a one, two punch - an appropriately bottom-heavy rendition of Judas Priest's "Victim of Changes."

You'd think that'd be all, considering this is an EP and all, but the band doesn't stop there. Closing out "FMEP" are "Fortunes," "Cough / Cool" and "Movin' Out" which the band recorded for Blue Cheer, The Misfits and Aerosmith tribute albums, respectively. Of the three, "Cough / Cool" probably comes closest to sounding like the original band (not that that's really the point).

So, because of its dearth of original material, "FMEP" may not be the best place to start sampling this great band. But the CD still kicks ass. If their live show doesn't hook you, this CD probably will. 

Fireball Ministry: Emily J. Burton - guitar; John Oreshnick - drums; Rev. James A. Rota II - guitar, vocals. Bass guitar played by Brad Davis. Additional guitar by Michael Cooper-Smith.

For more information, check out  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 May 2024 14:45:21 -0400.