Spirits Of Fire – Spirits Of Fire
Spirits Of Fire is a supergroup formed in 2017 featuring musicians who have a ton of experience and have performed with some of the most iconic bands in the metal soundscape. The bands span the genres of heavy metal, thrash metal, progressive metal, and hard rock. If that is not enough to whet your appetite, then are you even metal? Just kidding, but if you are a fan of any of those genres, you will likely love this disc.
- Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
- Mark Zonder – Drums
- Chris Caffery – Guitars, Backing Vocals
- Tim “Ripper” Owens – Vocals
Spirits Of Fire’s self-titled debut record was released on February 22, 2019, by Frontiers Records. This disc featured Tim “Ripper” Owens on vocals, and the difference is noticeable from the second release. The lyrics are more externally focused rather than on internal struggles. In the past few years, Mr. Owens has been very prolific, appearing on numerous albums and supporting tons of projects. This is yet another example of him showing off those incredible vocal skills. All of these musicians are well-versed in multiple genres of metal and adept at working with varied personnel and getting it just right.
- Light Speed Marching
- Temple of the Soul
- All Comes Together
- Spirits of Fire
- It’s Everywhere
- A Game
- Stand and Fight
- Meet Your End
- Never to Return
- The Path
- Alone in the Darkness
The record opens heavy with “Light Speed Marching.” The guitars are dark and fast, the rhythm is pounding. The vocals have the classic “Ripper” screams and falsetto and the lower end shifting back and forth, weaving through various ranges. There are harmonized backing vocals as well. I really like how a few of the vocal vibratos are matched by the guitar. That interplay is exquisite and shows the skills of both Tim and Chris.
“All Comes Together” is a beautiful example of how the progressive bit creeps into the heavy metal. Mark’s drums are stunning in this one. His drumming is always spectacular, but sometimes they just stand out more than others. And not to be outdone, Steve’s bass is note for note just as killer. Those runs give a lot of flair to the song. The tempo shifts highlight this tune as a standout. The guitar solo and the shifting drum/bass pattern underneath that solo make it feel much more than just a standard solo; all of those things make this song punch that much harder. This is top-notch writing and performing.
One of the songs that stands out on this record is “It’s Everywhere.” Opening with an acoustic piece that sounds like it has a bit of Spanish Classical guitar influence, the kick into the main riff is excellent. The melodic tone Tim uses for the initial vocals fits so perfectly. The chorus is gritty and rough. After that almost delicate intro, this is a beautiful contrast. The choppy lead guitar, accompanied by the increasingly tortured vocal line “it’s inside my head,” that leads into the solo is a killer piece of writing. Those tone and tempo shifts are epic. I love everything about this song.
Shifting to something very different, “A Game” is closer to sludgy, groove metal than it is the favored melodic metal on much of this disc. That slower pace of the rhythm and the way the vocals are delivered ooze out the speakers. The guitars, both lead and rhythm are delivered with such precision. The tempo shift that heralds the solo and bridge solidifies the song. The solo is frenzied but measured. I love how Chris is his own fantastic guitarist, yet I still hear the occasional bit of Criss Oliva (RIP) come flashing through.
The chugging rhythm of “Meet Your End” is part modern metal, part NWOBHM. Steve and Mark absolutely crush this one. The changes of pace, the rock-solid tempos, everything, come together so well on this track. The added keys in the background highlight both riff and rhythm here. Tim uses some great vibrato throughout this track, going slower and extending the “wavelength” of the tones.
Bringing the album to a close is “Alone In The Darkness.” The guitar and vocals have longing tones that speak of desperation and desolation. The sadness is palpable. The strings layered in make the song a little deeper, adding some additional tones to the mix not heard much on the rest of the record. The song’s slower pace keeps you drawn in, especially when the vocals reach higher and seek solace even more than before. This is a well-written song that really draws the listener in and makes them feel the pain and loneliness.
Spirits Of Fire is not just another supergroup. This group of seasoned metal veterans have played in everything from NWOBHM to progressive to heavy to thrash metal outfits. They bring all these experiences into play and deliver an excellent debut record. Many of the most recent supergroups have members from closely related genres, but this is a mixture that is both unique and vibrant. This is a solid album from an amazing group of individual musicians that came together and worked beautifully.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 8
- Songwriting – 8
- Production – 9
- Overall – 8.80