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Safety Fire; The: Mouth Of Swords

If any of you have been following the humorous, interesting, easy going video blogs from UK prog/math/technical rockers The Safety Fire, then you'll already know what a likeable bunch of jolly japers they are, even going as far as to compete on the BCC2 TV quiz show Eggheads! So hearing Mouth Of Swords, the band's second album, actually came as a bit of a surprise, with the contents being surprisingly full on, technical, uncompromising and brash. Truth be told, I'm still trying to work out if the surprise was a good one....

Take math rock precision and angularity and then pour on top screamy, shouty vocals, thunderous riffage and constantly smashing cymbals and you'll be entering the realms of The Safety Fire. Easy listening this is not, with full attention required to unravel the complexity and maelstromic nature of what tumbles forth from your speakers or ear plugs. That in itself is no bad thing and with a set of songs keenly crafted and an ability to make instrumental sections with equal impact to the vocal led passages, it could be a rewarding one. However what becomes apparent as you continually attempt to get to know tracks such as "Glass Crush" or "Beware The Leopard" is that even within music with a hugely varied set of influences (70s Prog, Prog Metal, Djent, Math Rock, Extreme Metal), an everything louder than everything else formula begins to appear that The Safety Fire seem unable to shake off. Rather than their obvious and impressive instrumental prowess allowing TSF to run free of constraint, the sheer unwillingness to rein things in for any length of time diminishes the impact of otherwise face pummelling music.

Drums are clattered, battered and bruised constantly, cymbals tortured mercilessly, muscular riffs continually pour out, stinging lead breaks perma-dance and vocals and bass stake ongoing claims for the high and low ground. If ever there was an ethos of a bit more of everything, it is here on Mouth Of Swords. Yes, some sections do ease off and the likes of "Wise Hands" does show a more restrained calm, however not in a way that truly grabs the attention. Oddly, I can't pick out a bad song, as when I flick through this album for examples not one comes across poorly, but take it all as one whole experience and the impression is OTT and surprisingly forgettable. I'd go as far as to suggest that by the time you reach its conclusion, fatigue has actually begun to settle in and cause the attention to wander.

There is undoubtedly some stunningly good stuff contained on Mouth Of Swords, but the effort taken to weed it out amongst the sheer weight of everything included, makes it more of a challenging album with little reward than a rewarding challenge. If that sounds like your bag, then you'll find much here to keep you entertained and busy.

Track Listing
1. Mouth Of Swords
2. Glass Crush
3. Yellowism
4. Beware The Leopard (Jagwar)
5. Red Hatchet
6. Wise Hands
7. The Ghosts That Wait For Spring
8. I Am Time, The Destroyer
9. Old Souls

Added: September 1st 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Safety Fire on facebook
Hits: 2193
Language: english

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