4/29/2011 - Review by: Eric Compton
Germany's Dragonsfire have made some rounds the last few years, releasing their debut album "Visions Of Fire" back in 2008. The talented act returns with their sophomore effort, a brilliant molten metal piece called "Metal Service" on Pure Steel Records. The band have really fine-tuned their sound, backed with recording experience but also playing numerous shows with the likes of Blaze Bayley. This album is self described as "faster, harder and sexier" and after repeated listens I would have to agree. This is a well-rounded and riveting piece of metal, really sounding one of a kind with its unique punk and metal crossed with the Teutonic pounding that Germany is known for.
"Metal Service" is served to us via stellar production from Rolf Munkes (Tony Martin, Razorback, Empire) at Empire Studios. The polished production really helps to elevate what would normally be a down-tuned and fuzzy effort with more distinct highs and a good nod to what made bands like Accept and Scorpions stand out value wise. While the production shines, Dragonsfire have really improved their sound, this time really settling into monstrous grooves that are often punctuated with a good dose of melody, crisp sing-along chorus bits and perfect timing to allow the bass and drums to forge their own portions of the songs.
The album starts with a punk spin on "My Mashed Insane Brain", really following into a unique metal cabaret that could only be described as The Who crossed with Accept. I love the pop sensibility of the track and the vocals would be similar to Michael Seifert of Rebellion/Black Destiny. "Raging Fire" begins like Accept's "Metal Heart", permeating with Teutonic rage and a rigid riff similar to Pantera's groove. I love the double bass at the end and overall this is a German anthem staple. "Call Of The Heart" is a more streamlined approach, backed by big melodic leads and a sing along chorus. The last third of the song really shows off an interesting angle with some harmonized vocals and a real rigid riff behind it. This is really what sets Dragonsfire apart from the pack. "The Devil" is next and starts with a really malevolent beginning and ends with some maniacal laughter, in between is a mid-tempo punch that has some pinch harmonics thrown in to make this a bit more modern. The first half ends with "Blood For Blood", one of the fastest numbers that ends similar to "Call Of The Heart" with the rigid riffs and almost spoken passages.
The last half of the album shows off with "King Without A Crown", another quick-paced start with a good stop and start delivery behind a brick-heavy lick. This track has my favorite solo shown off behind some acoustic guitar. Total Iron Maiden worship hits on "Time Of Twilight", complete with that intimate modern Maiden riff that is both slow and precise. This is one of the longest tracks and bends into a big gallop that really hits its stride through to one of the best chorus parts. This is one of my favorites of the album and is very dynamic and melodic throughout. "Visions Of Fire" sounds like total metal worship, an old school number that reminds me of Manowar. "Ghosts" has a really addictive riff throughout and may be a good representation of why the band describes this album as "sexy". The songwriting is really interesting and the overall vibe of the song has a gothic touch. The weakest cut for me is "To Hell And Back", which for some reason just never seems to settle into place. The record finishes up with the strange title "Lost Melody", a really simplistic and basic groove temp that proves less is actually okay. This is very accessible and proves to have plenty of replay value even though it is the longest track.
The Bottom Line - "Metal Service" is a stellar release that really shines with a true metal authority. This band certainly doesn't reinvent the wheel but definitely understands this genre and knows their audience. This is a stand out metal anthem that begs your fist to pound the open air. From the Teutonic "toughness" to the twin guitar chops, from the double bass to the rigid bass lines, Dragonsfire is indeed on fire, hot and heavy and pounding the metal tundra with a victory chant!
8/28/2010 12:03:49 PM - Review by: Chris Kincaid
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