Friday, October 11, 2013

Album Review - THE SAFETY FIRE

The Safety Fire – Mouth Of Swords
InsideOut, 2013

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one, and fail to quite see how this English band lives up to the hype as the next progressive metal hope. There’s certainly elements of bands like Karnivool and Cynic with more of a hardcore bent with the occasional screaming vocals, but Mouth Of Swords primarily consists of discordant, arpeggio- and scale-based guitar noodling. It’s not in the vein of the old shred-fests you can find on any Shrapnel album from the 80s, so the guitar work isn’t the self-indulgant wanking you might expect. I’ve given this several listens over the last week anticipating that the album would take some to sink in but it just hasn’t happened. The guitar work bores me; there’s a lack of real riffs on which to latch, and the scales just drift by like white noise after a while. There are some interesting moments and song structures to the band’s credit, but not enough to overcome my general feeling of boredom when listening. Boredom is probably a bit harsh, but the album seems here and gone when I listen like background music that neither offensive nor inspiring. Fans of experimental hardcore are more apt to enjoy this; if you think of bands like Dream Theater and Fates Warning as progressive metal then Mouth Of Swords will likely disappoint you.

The Safety Fire performs tonight, Friday, October 11 at The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis as support to Between The Buried And Me, The Faceless, and The Contortionist.

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