FireForce - Annihilate the Evil - (8/10)
Published on September 17, 2017
Belgium may be a small country but people really should pay more attention to it, and for things other than chocolate. It is not a country that comes to mind when you think of metal hotbeds but as everyone knows, good metal can come from anywhere. FireForce are a talented power metal band with two albums to their name and a heavy, booming sound. Their debut, 2011’s March On, was a great album that really grabbed the attention of a lot of people. Annihilate the Evil is their third album overall, and first with Serge Bastaens on bass and Jonas Sanders behind the kit.
Even though FireForce is European, their sound more closely resembles that of USPM, which is often faster, heavier and far less cheesy than its European counterpart. FireForce’s sound is very riff-driven with precious little in the way of mid-paced grooves played for an extended period of time. “Oxi Day” is the exception to this rule but even this track has bursts of speed to change up the pace. Naturally, the band follows that up with “Thyra’s Wall,” which is non-stop speedy aggression that only slows down briefly to breathe. Many of the songs on the album flow between booming heaviness and pure, unadulterated power metal aggression, and always with high quality riffs to match. The melodies are also fairly catchy and the solos are really solid. None of it qualifies as the best in the business but FireForce get the most out of their twin guitar attack and this album is high quality and a ton of fun as a result.
The drums really kick these songs into high gear, with plenty of blazing bombast to satisfy even the pickiest of fans. Jonas does not really bring anything original to the table but he turns in a great performance, filling these songs with energy. He can slow it down when he so chooses and does so quite well but the bombastic beats and double kick is what propels these songs on to the planes of awesomeness. Jonas does a great job keeping “Thyra’s Wall” moving at blazing speed and then he throws in a few neat fills when the song takes a short breath. “Defector (Betrayer of Nations)” is heavier and more bombastic and he does that well too, even inserting rim hits every so often for added punch along. “The Iron Brigade” is probably the best example of his skills because it showcases creativity with the cymbal intro, bombast with the grooves, and blazing speed to match the aggression that makes up most of the song. It really is too bad this band has so much trouble retaining a drummer for more than a year or two because musically, Jonas is a great fit for FireForce.
Flype’s vocals are probably the weakest part of FireForce’s sound as they are a bit thin for this kind of sound. He does a good job with the range he possesses but he almost sounds strained a few times on this album. They are unique but they sometimes feel slightly lacking in power. That being said, Flype hits some pretty solid notes and both his lows and highs do add something to the band’s sound. His ability is best showcased on the groovy “Fake Hero” and incredibly fun “Dog Soldiers” as his voice slides right in to those songs and gives them a boost. The shouts on “Iron, Steel, Concrete, Granite” are pretty awesome though and the historical themed lyrics on this album are a great time.
Overall, this album is a galloping great time from start to finish. It may not be anyone’s album of the year and it does have its weaknesses but it plays to FireForce’s strengths very well. There is plenty of all-out aggression for USPM fans and plenty of catchy melodies and choruses for lovers of the European style. What it lacks in creativity, it more than makes up for in riffs and in being a ton of fun. If you like power metal of any kind, there is something for you on this album.