Hot off the Press

Brother Firetribe | Diamond In The Firepit

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist —

Brother Firetribe  Diamond In The FirepitIf thinking about a contemporary band that embodies the term “pomp rock” in the strict sense of the word, the Finnish melodic rock act Brother Firetribe is one of the first that come to mind. What’s been started as one of many side-projects of the Nightwish guitarist Erno “Emppu” Vuorinen alongside Altaria or Almah, is now a favorite of many melodic rock aficionados. Blending melody and powerful sound together is what they’re the best at – an undisputed fact proven by their two previous releases, 2006 False Metal (reissued as Break Out) and 2008 Heart Full Of Fire. Also with their newest and largely anticipated album, entitled Diamond In The Firepit, they’re not about to get off the track.

Diamond In The Firepit took about six years to be completed and released – was the wait worth it? To answer the question, check out the song that opens the album, “Love’s Not Enough.” Tinkly keyboards, groovy guitar riffs, vocal harmony and, the most of all, the overwhelmingly infectious melody of the huge chorus … yes, all this you can put a tick against here. And yet, this is just the beginning.

“Far Away from Love” is an AOR keyboard-driven killer with a lot of instrumental wizardry of the band’s keyboard player Tomppa Nikulainen, while in “For Better Or For Worse,” chosen to be the first promotional single off the album, it’s rather the groovy guitar against the massive, powerful chorus that does more of the talking. The group chant that opens the brilliant “Edge Of Forever” bears a slight resemblance to Reckless Love’s “Night On Fire” – minus the cheesy tribal war paint, thank God. “Trail Of Tears,” in spite of its title suggesting rather a schmaltzy power ballad (or, perhaps, the Native Americans-related historical comment both White Lion and Europe have previously made in their songs), turns out to be an upbeat, powerful track with some equilibristic lead guitar work.

Apart from a few charming, mellower mid-tempos (“Desperately”, “Hanging By A Tread” and the final “Close To The Bone”) and another few straightforward keyboard-driven rockers (“Tired Of Dreaming”, “Reality Bites”), the definite icing on the cake is the ninth track on the album. Known from their stellar versions of Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” and Mike Reno’s “Chasing The Angels” (both as close to the ideal of the untouchable original versions as possible), Brother Firetribe this time decide on delivering yet another ‘80s soundtrack classic.

If you think of 1987 dramatic movie Over The Top starring Sylvester Stallone, the first thing you’d come up with is either the main character’s trademark arm wrestling scenes or the soundtrack to the movie. Predictably, it’s Sammy Hagar’s “Winner Takes It All” we are talking about here. Brother Firetribe’s rendition of this track is something that would certainly make The Red Rocker proud – it’s another proof of not only their ability to make brilliant cover versions, but also, the albums as brilliant as their third one.

The only weak point of Diamond In The Firepit would be, perhaps, the fact that it doesn’t surprise neither the band’s followers, nor opponents. Speaking shortly, it’s nothing new, but at the same time exactly what you could expect from the Finnish melodic rockers. And again, if you dug what they did on False Metal or Heart Full Of Fire, you’re gonna love this one. Big, powerful choruses, ‘80s style “wall of sound” vocals, massive synthesizer melodies, rich guitar work and pulsing rhythm – and each song on the album being a melodic rock anthem on its own – it’s what makes Diamond In The Firepit a real diamond among contemporary rock albums released this year. Much recommended.

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, AOR

Vocals – Pekka Ansio Heino
Guitars – Emppu Vuorinen
Keyboards – Tomi Nikulainen
Bass/Backing vocals – Jason Flinck
Drums – Kalle Torniainen

Track List:
01. Intro
02. Love’s Not Enough
03. Far Away From Love
04. For Better Or For Worse
05. Desperately
06. Edge Of Forever
07. Hanging By A Thread
08. Trail Of Tears
09. Winner Takes It All
10. Tired Of Dreaming
11. Reality Bites
12. Close To The Bone

Label: Spinefarm Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10