Munroe, Ronny: The Fire Within
With the unfortunate demise earlier in the year of Metal Church, vocalist Ronny Munroe faced the stark choice of stepping out of the music scene, or forging his own path. With the help of his ex Church band mate Kurdt Vanderhoof who produced The Fire Within, Munroe took the bold step of releasing his first solo album. Having been a stalwart of the pre grunge Seattle rock scene, Munroe has also enlisted the aid of Queensryche guitarist Michael Wilton, who guests on "Sea Of Sorrows" and "What You Choose To Call Hell" along with his other MC guitar mate Rick Van Zandt who adds his six string talent to the album.
With the involvement of Van Zandt and Vanderhoof, it will come as no surprise to learn that The Fire Within sticks fairly close to the sound of their and Munroe's old band. Whilst there is maybe a little more diversity on The Fire Within than on the most recent Metal Church releases, this is pretty much straight ahead heavy power metal in the same manner of his previous band.
Beyond the guests Ronny has surrounded himself with a solid group of musicians who produce a hard hitting performance that this style of music needs. Randy Cooper handles the rest of the guitars on the album with Izzy Rehaume on bass and Johnny Ringo bashing the drums and along with Ronny they make an impressive outfit.
Of the twelve tracks on show the highs come in the shape of the crunching, urgent "Far", the rumbling intensity of "Delirium", the intricate "Desperate Man" and "Across The Sea Of Souls" which is a slower brooding track that allows Munroe to impress with a more soulful, melodic vocal which he should employ more often.
There aren't many genuine lows, however the cover of Rainbow's "Man On The Silver Mountain" was ill advised at best, as Ronny isn't a patch on his name sake and after barely putting a foot wrong on the rest of the album, it's unfortunate that he sounds a little sub standard on this closing track.
The rest of the disc is full of enjoyable if unremarkable tracks that are all extremely well played and constructed, however they don't really stand out from many other bands work in what is a rather crowded musical arena.
For Ronny Munroe's first effort outside of a band environment and possibly the heaviest release to come from the Metal Heaven stable The Fire Within is a good starting point that promises better results in the future.
2.What You Choose to Call Hell (I Call Home)
4.Rebuild the Ruins
7.Sea of Souls
12.Man on the Silver Mountain
Added: November 7th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
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