Review: Brother Firetribe – Sunbound

Record Info

Label: Spinefarm Records
Release date: March 24, 2017
Line-up: Pekka Ansio Heino (vo), Emppu Vuorinen (g), Jason Flinck (b), Tomppa Nikulainen (key), Hannes Pirila (dr)

Rating: 9,5/10
(10: A Master Piece / a future classic, 9: Superb, near perfect, 8: Great, 7: Very good, 6: Good, 5: Average)

The followup record to 2014’s “Diamonds In The Firepit” starts with a bombastic intro that makes you feel like you’re at the beaches in Baywatch. It’s also a great way to present the “new” drummer Hannes Pirila. Everyone that saw the band on the last tour knows he filled in for Kalle Torniainen, that after 4 albums (3 studio and 1 live) left the band, no announcement of why he left, so we leave it for what it is.

The album sound remains as solid as on the last album, and just by looking at the simple yet beautiful cover you know this is gonna be a fantastic AOR/Melodic Rock album. Brother Firetribe brings a 12-track masterpiece to your stereo system, they bring the elements of the 80’s in to a new fantastic sound as with all of their albums.

The first track Sunbound together with Help Is On The Way starts the album of just as great as Love Is Not Enough on the previous album. The chorus is catchy and get stuck in your head easily, just like the lead single Taste Of A Champion that we got from the band last autumn already, told everyone that is a “Triber” that they keep on doing what they do best. Taste Of The Champion might just be the perfect Melodic Rock anthem, their own Eye Of The Tiger!

The second single (also first video single) Indelible Heroes is a tribute to all the fallen celebrities and idols of the last few years and is a slower paced song and together with Shock it goes more AOR with a hint of Westcoast, but they both suits the album well and brings the perfect balance to the album as a whole.

Last Forever is a summer anthem and it leaves a guy like Jon Bon Jovi wishing he wrote something like this in the late 80’s. This song together with Give Me Tonight are the upbeat, catchy songs you want to hear after a bad day at work. Together with Big City Dream (the upcoming 3rd single), that is another 80’s upbeat keyboard driven song, with a great drum hock before the last chorus. Together they are the 3 best songs on the album.

Strangled brings the feeling of their two first albums with the guitar solo sound and the attack in the keyboards, as does Heart Of The Matter that has a groovy feeling with a great synth-bass going all over verses and it’s a great lead up to the John Parr cover Restless Heart. And as always they bring great justice to their covers, this time is no exclusion.

Now to the big final, Phantasmagoria, that works perfect as an outro to the album, the warm sound of the verses of this song is reflected perfectly in the cover, and the build up to the big pompous chorus with all keyboard and string element, leaves you breathless, and it’s a perfect end to the album!

To sum up the album, it’s the perfect melodic rock soundtrack, Brother Firetribe’s finest to date, and it grows overtime you listen to it. It’s all you can ask for if you already like Brother Firetribe, and surely it will catch many new fans along the way. If it had been released in the 80’s it would have been up their with Journey’s “Escape”, and many more!

Live Review: Graham Bonnet Band – Göta Källare 2016-06-12

PR3A2040The now soon to be 70 year old Bonnet has been flown in from his 2 shows at Sweden Rock Festival, his own show on Wednesday and a show with Michael Schenker on the Saturday.

The night was supposed to start with an acoustic VIP set but due to soundcheck running late the acoustic set became a 2 song electric set followed by a Q&A. Well since no one was prepared for a Q&A it took a bit before the questions was coming a long.

We got a lot of stories spanning from the whole career covering his Rainbow days and what he thought about the reunion, seeing it as Ritchie Blackmore just want to try the grounds and see if people would be interested, even though Blackmore, according to Bonnet, loves the project with his wife and was even at one time trying to get Rainbow to sound more like Jethro Tull. He also tells the stories behind Ritchies cello which he just posed with and never played.

PR3A2020Moving on to his early days in Alcatrazz with Yngwie Malmsteen and the choking incident that got Yngwie fired, and also the now classic story about his so called failure with Michael Schenker, that got him fired.
Good enough for Graham he’s been sober now for 11 years, this relating to a question about his short session in the Japanese metal band Anthem, where he fell straight off stage at one of the shows in Japan in 2000. He looked back at it all being a fun but strange time since the album he did with the band was their old Japanese song translated to english, also they were recorded in his home studio in Los Angeles at the time and to him the translated versions didn’t make much sense lyrically but it was a fun part.

And to end the Q&A a question about his Line Up album got him to refer to it as Graham Bonnet featuring Whitesnake, of course also making the comprising to his own “Whitesnake” just to end it with “Oh’ Graham you filthy…Stop it” ending up with a big laugh.

On to the main show, we get a greatest hits set spanning from 1979-1988, with exactly the hits you want to hear as well as a new single Mirror Lies. Unlike many other old singers that come to Sweden and borrow local musicians, Bonnet brings his whole band and it makes the performance even more solid. The band is since 2014, Conrado Pesinato on Guitar, Beth-Ami Heavenstone on Bass and Mark Zonder on Drums

PR3A1973The only sad part is the keyboards that are prerecorded and it gives a bit of a stale sound some times, especially in the end when the backing track system crashes. But Bonnet makes the best of the situation and tells a little stories about his new music as well as the remasters of his old music.

Bonnet apologises time and time again, with a smile on his face, for maybe not hitting all the high notes, since the came back after the Michael Schenker very early in the morning before heading to the flight towards Stockholm. But to be honest Bonnet has nothing to apologies about because he sounds as good today as he always has done. He hits the high notes just like it was 1979 when he did his first shows with Rainbow.

As I said the set is full of hits and starts of with Eyes Of The World and All Night Long. The only drawback here is that the mix isn’t good enough at this point to give a fair opinion on it since backing tracks are way to high the first few choruses. But during the set it gets so good that it’s a fabolus mixture to everything and when we get to the Alcatrazz goodies including God Blessed Video & Jet To Jet everything is just perfect and Bonnet and the band delivers such a solid performance that would make Steve Vai jealous that he wasn’t a part of the show. So a big thumbs up to Conrado Pesinato for bring so much feeling in the guitar play especially since he’s covering up for what both Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker and Steve Vai did during the years.

PR3A2064We get to the part where Bonnet finally picks up the guitar to introduce us to the new song Mirror Lies. And tells us about hopefully having a new album out later this year. And if this song says anything it’s that Bonnet will keep on rocking with his band. Sad enough the audience, around 50+ people, is trying to give their best, but it’s a Sunday night and around 11PM so who can blame them. But Bonnet jokes wildly with the fact that he almost can count everyone on his hands now and then, but caries on with a big smile, and delivers a really great performance.

All things must come to an end, and the set comes to an end with Since You Been Gone (being the only song Bonnet has small issues with hitting the high notes), Assault Attack, and Lost In Hollywood. All in all a very stable performance, and a very intimate one as well. The only down part to it is that Bonnet deserves a lot more people at the show. But we who were there got to se a fantastic show and the others missed out.

Eyes Of The World
All Night Long
Stand In Line
God Blessed Video
Will You Be Home Tonight
Jet To Jet
Night Games
Suffer Me
Desert Song
Mirror Lies
Island In The Sun
Since You Been Gone
Assault Attack
Lost In Hollywood

Rating: 9/10