Saffire – From Ashes to Fire

 Posted by on April 12, 2013 at 22:53  Add comments
Apr 122013
 

saffire_artworkGothenburg band Saffire was started in 2006 by Victor Olsson and Dino Zuzic out of a desire to do something heavier than the funk rock band they were in at the time.  Following the addition of the rest of the lineup, Saffire released their first demo in 2007 and followed that up with more demos in 2009 and 2011, after which they felt they had enough material for a full-length debut album.  For the debut album, From Ashes to Fire, Saffire brought in some heavyweight production personnel.  Mixing was handled by Fredrik Nordström & Henrik Udd at Studio Fredman [At The Gates, In Flames, Hammerfall] and mastering by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios [Symphony X, Opeth, Kreator].  As you might imagine, there are no issues with the production on this release.

From Ashes to Fire opens up with the rocking, groove-filled track “Magnolia” that feels different  than the rest of the album and that may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.  “Magnolia reminds me of many of the modern hard rock songs getting airplay today from the likes of Five Fingered Death Punch, Disturbed, and Avenged Sevenfold.  Thumping bass , anthemic choruses, good guitar solos, and strong vocals fill the song out very nicely.  I will say that throughout, there’s just something about the guitar tone, especially in the solos that I am not terribly fond of, but there is some definite talent behind the sound, so it’s difficult to criticize.

After “Magnolia”, Saffire seems to take a decided turn toward paying homage to their influences.  In their press release, they cite Rainbow, Dio, Whitesnake, and Van Halen as influences and those are rather easy to pick out, which is my biggest complaint with the album.  To me, many of the songs seem overly derivative.  In “Kingdom of the Blind” I can’t help but notice both the lyrical content and style and even some of the subtleties and nuances in the vocals are strongly reminiscent of Dio in the Rainbow era.  Being a huge fan of Rainbow, I may be picking up things others may miss, so keep that in mind when reading this review and you may wish to take my comments with a grain of salt.

Musically, there is a strong influence from the bands listed earlier and as mentioned, I feel they have been taken a bit too far, moving from influence to copying.  That being said, the songs are not straight rip-offs of those bands, and many of the songs will have sections from several of the bands.  In some ways, it is fun picking those out, but I found myself thinking many times that I remember hearing a certain section in one of those other band’s songs and that Saffire has just carved up several catalogs of songs and reassembled them into new songs.  Keeping that in mind, the musicianship is excellent and it does take an inordinate amount of skill to put the songs together as well as they have been done in From Ashes to Fire.

Rating: 5/10

Track listing;
01. Magnolia
02. Kingdom of the Blind
03. Freedom Call
04. End of the World
05. What If
06. A Symphony Unheard
07. Paralyzed
08. Modus Vivendi
09. The Betrayer’s Fate
10. She Remains a Mystery
11. Say Goodbye
12. The Redemption
13. Stormy Waters

Band members:
Magnus Carlsson Bass
Anton Roos – Drums
Tobbe Jansson. – Vocals
Victor Olsson – Guitar
Dino Zuzic – Guitar

Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings, May 2013

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Myspace

From Ashes To Fire can be pre-ordered at the Inner Wound Store

Video below: Teaser clip for “From Ashes to Fire”

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