Scotland’s Firebrand Super Rock are a terrific live band whom I first discovered at Bloodstock some years ago. Fast forward to recent times and after following a few memorable and often drunken live shows, they are back with their second full album ‘Born for the Gallows’.
What I first loved about this band are the mind bending riffs and tight back beat from guitarist Jamie Gilchrist and bassist Frazer Marr, however, Laura Donnelly’s vocals were and are something of a jewel feature for a young British band. ‘Beyond the Final Gate’ is a speedier affair with some wicked riffs mixed through a whiskey soaked adrenaline rush. Then you get to something like the following track ‘Lost at Sea’ and even ‘Addict’ that have me thinking of Heaven & Hell and a slight doom element, whilst camping in the heavy metal scheme of things, just like H&H/Dio-era Sabbath. ‘Born for the Gallows’ does sound a bit darker overall but is balanced, consistent but able to show a varying character, even a change from their previously released material.
Moving onto ‘Re-Animator’, I am sure it’s a track that some thrash bands would love to write riff wise, but it’s brought back to earth by the unmistakable vocal range of Donnelly. Usually “British” metal bands are fixated with the 90’s and have a “groove” metal aspect to their sound, FSR have a real metal passion and thankfully not an overbearing groove, they manage to write songs that makes you take note of their often intricate fretwork and arrangements. It is fair to say that ‘Born for the Gallows’ shows a massive leap forward and FSR are a band not afraid to try out new idea’s, styles and techniques, especially if the vocal styling’s to the intro of closer ‘When Worlds Collide’ is anything to go by.
FSR have been high on my radar for a while, it’s great to hear the band moving forward and developing their craft, something I am sure their relentless legwork on tour around the country has had a factor in the recording of ‘Born for the Gallows’ thus giving us a fresh and exciting album, a British metal album to be proud of.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)