"Double Diamond" (Rise Above; 2011)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Bill Steer and company return with another 10-track installment of organically grown hard-rocking blues-based tunes entitled "Double Diamond," the unit's sixth album.

Firebird keeps their rock-solid rhythm section grooving on cuts like "A Wing & A Prayer" while rounds of nifty fretwork and catchy choruses left at the curb on the Sunset Strip make their presence felt on cuts like "Ruined."

Sticking close to the blueprint developed by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, Firebird provides a predictable yet appeasing batch of bluesy boogie and hard hitting hard rock jams that don't aim to reinvent the wheel but will keep air guitars going strong into the night ("Pound of Flesh").

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"Grand Union" (Rise Above; 2009)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Laying down a concrete 70s retro rock feel that you can’t help but groove to, Firebird’s fifth installment of classic hard rock, "Grand Union," serves up a winning amalgamation of tooth-bearing hard rock and muscular blues in its journey across the hard rock timeline.

Spearheaded by unlikely extreme metal luminary Bill Steer, the whiskey-soaked guitars, thunderous bass and drum rhythmic interlocking, and sinewy compositions echo bell bottom heaviness from bands like Cream and Free (“Lonely Road”) while “Release Me” pairs up AC/DC and Deep Purple for a bluesy hard rock tour de force and “Fool For You” displays this power trio’s cleverness by turning a James Taylor song into a sizzling bongo-filled blues rock free-for-all.

Dirty riffs collide with dashes of organ and harmonica (“Worried Mind”) accompaniments with a pulsating vibe straight from the arena rock glory days throughout, assisting Firebird ‘s triumphant throwback aura to fully encumber your rock ‘n roll soul.

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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.

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.