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Album Reviews : City of Fire – City of Fire

By on April 14, 2010

2445273The last year or so has been quite productive for Burton C Bell; the reformation of Fear Factory, the release of The Ascension of Watchers first record, touring with Ministry’s final North American trek and now the release of City Of Fire’s debut album. Formed in the scenic surroundings of Vancouver Canada, Bell is definitely the ‘face’ of this project – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one man band. While Bell’s iconic vocals are magnificent throughout, it’s the powerful, yet restrained and relaxed, guitar playing from Sho Murray and Ian White that makes this record.

While not definitely not a metal album, “City of Fire” is rooted in the sounds of heavy alt-rock, while also channeling the classic sounds of the early 90’s Grunge movement with strong nods to Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Mother Love Bone throughout the record.

Bell’s throaty roar gets a thorough workout, especially on the bruising opening track “Carve Your Name”, however it’s the frontman’s strong melodic singing that gets a majority of the air time throughout the record. The lumbering “Gravity” is built upon the simplest of the riffs, yet its colossal weight and Bell’s power delivery makes this an album standout, with the dabs of chorused guitars floating across the song and another monster riff in the bridge sealing the deal. “Rising” boasts a strong acoustic feel, before transcending into an almost Smashing Pumpkins style wall of guitars, while “A Memory” uses a loose and flowing song structure of almost peaceful chords and vocal effects.

“City of Fire” is full of blissful melodies and muscular guitar playing, and rather than being an abrasive record it comes across very smooth and almost tranquil. If Fear Factory would ever fall apart again, Bell and Stroud have something very respectable to fall back on indeed. 8.5/10

Band: City Of Fire
Album: City Of Fire
Year: 2010
Genre: Alt Metal/Hard Rock
Origin: Vancouver Canada
Label: Shostroud/Stomp

Track listing:

1. Carve Your Name
2. Gravity <-Reviewers Choice
3. Rising
4. A Memory <-Reviewers Choice
5. Spirit Guide
6. Coitus Interruptus
7. Hanya
8. Emerald


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.