FUELED BY FIRE


"Spread the Fire" (Metal Blade; 2007)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

I remember back around 1987 - 1989 when every major label was signing at least one speed metal band because they thought it was the thing to do and because they were hoping to land the next Slayer or Anthrax. Today, it seems as though a number of metal labels are signing at least one old style thrash band just in case that type of music makes a comeback. 

Fueled by Fire hail from Southern California and they play a sound reminiscent of thrash bands from the bay area thrash scene that was so big in the late 1980s. The main influences here seem to be Testament, Death Angel and Exodus. The music is actually somewhat impressive in its energy although it's not terribly original. 

I think this band is one of the tighter old style thrash bands that have popped up recently. They know to bring a solid, heavy foundation and they certainly know how to command the pace. If they had played this back in 1988 then they might have really gotten somewhere. However, it's 2007 and they really need to provide more than just a style that tapered off more than fifteen years ago. Song titles like "Thrash is Back" and "Metal Forever" don't really help the band's cause either as they sound like clichés from another time. 

Lead vocalist Gio is one of the better singers I have heard in this new group of thrash bands. He sounds somewhat like former Exodus frontman Steve Souza. Unfortunately, he is no longer in Fueled by Fire as he had a reportedly rather ugly split with the band recently and they are currently seeking a new vocalist so they can complete some upcoming touring commitments. 

The opening instrumental, "Ernest Goes to Hell" is one of the most intriguing tracks on the album. It combines thrash with more classic style influences like Iron Maiden and Helloween in a rather effortless manner yet it still hit a chord with me. It was the one song on the album that was the least like straight-up old style thrash and it was very smooth. Don't get me wrong: I love that style, but I am still a firm believer that any thrash comeback will require some of these artists to do something new, adding some other element to the old thrash formula. Unless someone does that then I don't see a thrash comeback happening at least in any major way. 

Fueled by Fire are not doing much new at all, but they have some chops and a deal of spirit so that gives me some hope for them to grow and maybe push forward to the next level. In order for a thrash comeback to be anything more than a brief retro fad, some band needs to have the foresight and the creativity to push the boundaries. I would love to see it happen.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/fueledbyfire


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 © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Mar 2017 12:56:13 -0500.