Firebringer - Firebringer - (8.5/10)
Published on June 30, 2019
Genre:Industrial / Alternative / Groove
Alright, I give in: this album is great and I love it. Such is the power of these Ukrainian madmen that I have gone from regarding this record with a curious frown, to replaying it over and over with genuine enjoyment. I’ll go ahead and make the claim: nothing quite sounds like this. Firebringer are difficult to pin down to one genre and their debut self-titled album almost defies categorization. There are hints of Deathstars-esque industrial metal here and there, but with a palpable sense of defiance which sets them apart from others of that ilk – perhaps Pitchshifter? Rammstein? Devilment? Only glimpses of such influences rear their heads. Read on and discover how the Ukrainian quartet carved their own path into the genre.
With no previous release that I’m aware of, Firebringer introduce us to their sonic peculiarity with their own title song, “Firebringer”, from the album of the same name. Yup, a real Black Sabbath moment. With a stomping riff and the heralding shout of ‘I WILL MAKE YOU BURN!’ – it’s exactly the right way to open an LP. Right off the bat, the bizarre production quality will raise some eyebrows. Guitars are almost muffled, though not to the point where they lose their definition. The riffs could hit harder, but they still make their point. Other than this quasi-industrial racket the production creates, the next focal point is the voice of Allex Spark (I believe that’s the vocalist’s name; information on this act is scarce!). Though I would attempt a description of his voice as being somewhere between Marilyn Manson and Jaz Coleman’s harsher moments, the reality is: he’s totally unique. No one sounds like this guy, and his croaky shouts help characterize the album. Quirky and rough, yet melodic when necessary.
For the best of Spark’s bizarre vocal athletics, check out the verses of the rockin’ “Social Disgrace” or the oddly moving “I Wish (It’s True)”. The latter, as far as ballads go, might be among the best of 2019. It succeeds in being simultaneously delicate and intense, and the frosty vocal performance only enhances the atmosphere. On the other side, strewn throughout this album are moments of brutish, almost Hatebreed-esque attitude, such as “Make You Bleed”, with its totally addictive bark of ‘I’m gonna make you fuckin’ bleed!!’. The brilliantly-titled “Love Is Like A Weed” also cranks the badass-ness to overdrive, sounding akin to a biker’s anthem but with heaps of vibrancy. Truth be told: not one track on Firebringer sounds like its predecessor.
As if to prove a point, the Ukrainians cap off the LP with hugely contrasting duo of songs. Firstly, “The Machine”, a grandiose epic with symphonic tendencies and an almost cinematic wall of sound which busts out a cracking riff at the 1:00 mark. Then comes “Fireplace”, a peculiar comedown which rides the thin line between leaving the listener tense and salivating for more, or leaving them deflated and unfulfilled. Either way, it’s one-of-a-kind. And that’s really the best way to sum up this record; one-of-a-king, unique, original, nothing if not interesting and definitely worth half an hour of your time. This effort is refreshingly brief, doesn’t outstay its welcome, and is never boring. In today’s over-saturated market, the metal community needs a band like Firebringer to make us perk up and crane our necks.