Gods Of Fire - Wrath Of The Gods 2004 Black Thirteen Records --EC
1) Welcome to Hell 2) City of Gold 3) Hyperion 4) The Long Walk 5) Digital Neon 6) Eternally Strong 7) Nectar of the Gods 8) Prometheus Unbound
What an odd record, what an odd band, and what an odd sound. It has been years since a record has confused me this much, although the recent arrival of The Last Act's "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" brought in plenty of controversy between myself and staff member Nailer. Sometimes you just stumble on that one record that doesn't really fit any niche so to speak. Most of those albums just lie dormant in my collection, begging for a spin on those late Saturday nights where musical experimentation seems to rear its head.
To be honest with you Gods Of Fire didn't immediately grab me. I thought it was decent, but I quickly moved on to more catchy realms for my listening pleasure. I try to be fair with every album I get so I took "Wrath Of The Gods" with me in the car, giving myself plenty of listening time while my wife ran by the grocery store. The "two minute" trip slowly turned into a half hour, giving me plenty of time to let the album soak in. To my surprise, Gods Of Fire are a damn good metal band, with "Wrath Of The Gods" being one of the better albums I've heard this year.
From what I gather in my web surfing, this is the debut album from the New York quintet. The band manages to craft some slick, downright catchy metal tunes on their first real effort. Gods Of Fire could best be described as "Sad Wings Of Destiny" era Priest, crossed with Maiden and Sabbath, with a bit of Annihilator's sadistic side poking through. But the music isn't quite that traditional, neither is the storytelling. Instead the group border on their own genre really, something that hasn't been achieved much lately. If you look at older bands like Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road, you understand that sometimes "power metal" bands can stray from the cookie cutter mold and create something different. This is a far cry from the European speed picking of Helloween, and it's a reach to call this gothic metal as well. It really does stand on its own two feet, leaving me a bit weary to try and describe this. But let me give you the rundown...
Each song on the album is "inspired" by a book, movie, or a poem. Even video games pop up, as evident on "Welcome To Hell", themed after the Silent Hill franchise. The track is very eerie in its description of that macabre village, with the music taking on a bit of early Priest before drifting into Dio dimensions. The same Dio element exists with "Digital Neon", with its "Heaven Or Hell" bass and bombastic hook. Stephen King's page turner "The Long Walk" pop's up in a song by the same name, with a traditional metal approach before turning into a fast whiplash assault reminiscent of "Ride The Lightning" era Metallica.
Vocalist Prometheus (the whole band has unique stage names) sounds like a combination of Rob Halford (Priest), Eric AK (Flotsam & Jetsam), and Michael Seifert (Rebellion, Black Destiny). He really throws a lot of different voices into the mix, but does best with his melodic chorus parts. Plenty of great riffs and solos come from Saucy Jack and DJ Blood Sacrifice, who take the initiative to mix the tracks up with timing and tempo changes. The album was produced by famed Helmet/White Zombie producer Wharton Tiers, which does wonders for this band's sound.
Overall this is just a fabulous record that takes a few listens to fully settle in. I'm glad I stuck with it to realize just how talented this band is. A very solid effort from top to bottom, and a great sign of things to come. I'm already looking for another release!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details