City of Fire: City of Fire

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City of Fire: City of Fire
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City of Fire: City of Fire
Groove Metal, Hard Rock, Industrial, Progressive Metal
Candlelight Records
April 20th, 2010
Release length: 47:37
Myspace
Website
City of Fire is the name of the new project featuring Burton C. Bell and Byron Shroud of Fear Factory, and is named after Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, due to the sheer amount of bands that come out of that town and the “fire” it has from it. Of course, that is meerly a summed up version of the reason for the band’s name. In the end, City of Fire winds up being an album that many wouldn’t quite expect from the band, as it explores various musical styles inside and outside of the Metal world, while still retaining that hint of Industrial that was incorporated into the more mid-career Fear Factory, while focusing moreso on lighter material that seems to border the realms of Metal and Rock.

While City of Fire starts off a rather intense track that many Fear Factory fans have come to love and embrace, the song leaves a little more to be desired as it just comes off as a rather simple song with a Progressive attitude and clashing with each other in the long run. It’s right after this track that things start to get back on track, but the intensity is gone and replaced with a rough vocal approach that one would expect out of Burton C. Bell, and an often southern rock feel, or alternative rock vibe, that clashes greatly with said vocals, only getting worse as you progress through the album. “Gravity” and “Spirit Guide” really do showcase the more southern aspect of the music, which is really good, but winds up sounding a bit cluttered when there is more heat applied to the vocal approach, and shouting is incorporated during “A Memory” that things start to go downhill.

While the music on “Rising” and “Memory” plays out more like the lighter Digimortal material by Fear Factory, it lacks some of the elements that make it work and come off alright musically, but vocally it just doesn’t work sometimes and can come off a little bland thanks to how straight forward Alternative Rock it is. There’s nothing really special, and they come off standard until the shouting in “Memory” starts and ultimately ruins the song, even though the track picked up. Had there just been a louder, more energetic singing approach incorporated it would have sounded much better. But that’s not all, as the next song, “Spirit Guide” brings back the sourthern feel, but instead incorporates heavily distorted vocals that sound a bit too science fiction compared to the more southern musical approach the track has. “Coitus Interruptus” is really the first song on here that is wholly enjoyable from start to end because it has enough of an edge that the harsher vocal approach brought in works with it, and luckily it continues from this point with heavier tracks that seem to merge the band member’s musical roots, and the atmosphere set by the guitars.

Once you hit “Coitus Interruptus”, much of the album follows the same kind of set up, having a rather heavy song that has a more Hard Rock feel to it with vocals that stems from clean singing to shouting when the music picks up, or just shouting mostly pending on how heavy the song actually becomes. However, “Dark Tides” winds up changing things around a bit. Your first listen to the song may seem like it’s just a filler track that tries to bring in a more Industrial ambience through a really slow pace and heavily distorted vocals like those on “Spirit Guide”. However, given the ambience, this distortion works out to benefit the song, and before you know it the song bleeds into the closing song, “Rain”, which feels almost as if you are in some sort of indian rain dance thanks to the way the drums and guitars are performed, as well as the rain and thunder sound effects. These two tracks really make for an incredible ending to the album, as well as the best material off the album.

While it’s easy to appreciate what the Progressive aspect of City of Fire‘s music, it’s hard to sit down and enjoy most of it. The first half of the album winds up being conflicting within it’s self for one reason or another, whether through traditional generic sounds, or a clashing vocal performance. However, the latter half of the album finds the band molding together a fantastic blend of Progressive Hard Rock and Industrial Fear Factory influenced (mostly due to the band member’s lineage then blatently writing a similar style purposely to rope in fans) elements to create an enertaining closing to the release. While City of Fire is a great album that almost acts more as an experiment then anything else by these musicians, it really isn’t the best release out there, and could really use with some more refinement and growth. City of Fire is sure to be a good band at some point, but right now, this release winds up just being a bit of a let down that shows the blueprint for something fantastic.

01. Carve Your Name – 4:35
02. Gravity – 5:07
03. Rising – 3:20
04. A Memory – 3:52
05. Spirit Guide – 5:24
06. Coitus Interruptus – 4:45
07. Hanya – 4:01
08. Emerald – 1:58
09. Hollow Land – 4:46
10. Dark Tides – 4:14
11. Rain – 5:35
Overall Score: 4/10
City of Fire (Band)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records via Earsplit PR.