October 20, 2005

CD Review Fireball Ministry - Their Rock is Not Our Rock

With a band name like Fireball Ministry I expected a band that leaned far to the heavy side. I expected wrong. They fall right in the midst of the category of hard rock, they have their heavier moments, but generally it is business as usual. The first time I heard of them was in May of last year, they were one of the opening acts for Andrew WK. My memory of the show is a bit fuzzy, but I remember thinking they were pretty good, they had a southern tinged rock sound that stood out. Now, about a year and a half later, they are releasing a new album, and the first album to which I will listen.

Their Rock is Not Our Rock, catchy title. It's a shame that the music isn't in the same vein. The entire track list is comprised of straight ahead rockers, but none of them stand out. I hear the influences of other bands and sounds, but it never coalesces, it never takes shape into a sound that could be picked out as original. I hear bits of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath in some of the riffing and vocal style. There are small touches of Pantera, not nearly as heavy or crazy, but there is a similar feel. The biggest influential sound I detect is Corrosion of Conformity. There is a slightly sludgy quality to the Southern fried rock sound at work here.

That isn't to say that this is a bad by any stretch. It is refreshing to hear a band making some straight up, no frills rock and roll in this age of pop punk and nu-metal. There is a lot of potential in this sound that could be developed in the hands of a good producer.

There is one feeling that overrides all others as the album plays on, and that is "I bet this would kick ass live." There are bands that are better recorded on shiny disks of metal and plastic, and there are bands that use the albums as promotional tools for their much better live sound. I think that Fireball Ministry falls into the latter category. Recalling my fuzzy memories of May 2004, I seem to remember them being a loud and hard act that built up that rock groove and did a great job at helping to get the crowd warmed up. Listening to them on CD, those memories seem long off in the distance.

I guess I should get back to the album. It opens with "It Flies Again," the first of the ten rockers that comprise Their Rock is Not Our Rock. There are a couple of songs that managed to burrow themselves into the outer layers of my grey matter. Those songs include"Sundown," the catchy "Two Tears," and the wonderfully titled "Spill the Demons."

Bottomline. Not the best album I have heard lately, but there is still enough here to build a groove from. The best way to listen to this is to turn it up as loud as you can, it helps to build a more concert like environment. I hope to see them live again so I can reconfirm my "better band live" thoughts. In any case, this would be a good choice for someone looking for a straight up rock and roll alternative to the current state of rock radio.

Mildly Recommended.


Post a Comment