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Fireforce: March On

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.

Track Listing:
1. Coastal Battery
2. The Only Way
3. Firestorm
4. Horus (Bringer Of Order)
5. 1302 – Battle For Freedom
6. Moonlight Lady
7. Annihilation
8. Fly Arrow Fly (Crécy 1346)
9. Mona Lisa
10. Hold Your Ground
11. Born To Play Metal
12. Metal Rages On

Added: February 18th 2011
Reviewer: Jeff B
Related Link: Fireforce Website
Hits: 2425
Language: english

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