Missing in action, at least from the studio, for better than a decade, a reformed Born Of Fire returns with a second album, Dead Winter Sun. For their return, the band has recruited journeyman and vocalist for hire, Gordon Tittsworth (All Too Human, Dread the Forsaken, Images of Eden).
Having never heard their original album from 2000, Transformation, nor the 2012 compilation Anthology, this is my first experience with Born Of Fire. It's been one of mixed reactions as the album is a mixed bag of music. While cast into the heap of American power metal, there's a good mixture of classic melodic metal with power and progressive metal.
There's some quite heavy material with Spiritual Warfare and Cast The Last Stone, both mixing tempos and offering, tricky shifts in arrangement, sharp riffs and meaty solos. In A Cold World is another song that casts BoF into the realms of prog power metal with more shifting movements punctuated by drums seesawing between steady and rabid flurries. Hollow Soul is another tasty number where I found the bass line at it's strongest, leading the way, with those drums adding more accent as well.
Things turn on lighter, more moderate, melodic metal notes with Echoes Of The Lost and Last Goodbye. The former has an anthem quality, almost hymn-like, thanks to the keyboards. The latter allows Tittsworth's voice to shine a little brighter at least in the first half of the song. Otherwise, the vocals and vocal arrangements were the most challenging part of this album. Tittsworth is rather unclear throughout, especially when he tries to hit higher notes. Basically you can barely understand any of the lyrics he's singing. And I find this surprising. Either he's off his A-game (hard to believe) or somebody's being screwing with the mix and mastering (find who and kick his ass). Otherwise, along with the variety of songs and solid performance from the the rhythm section, the spirited guitar solos are also some of Born Of Fire's best strength, nicely done within When Hope Dies, Dead Winter Sun to mention a few.
All in all, Dead Winter Sun is notable return to form for Born Of Fire and, excepting some mixed feelings about the vocals, offers some interesting progressive power metal. It's definitely an album that requires more than one spin to appreciate.
All in all, Dead Winter Sun is notable return to form for Born Of Fire and, excepting some mixed feelings about the vocals, offers some interesting progressive power metal.
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