Review by Shayne McGowan
Fire From the Gods - American Sun
Fire From the Gods, the Texas based hard rock/metal band, have released their sophomore album, American Sun. It’s an album chock full of groove, melody and hooks, with a little
something for everyone. Where their first album, Narrative, released in 2016, was a good introduction, American Sun really sees them step up, and reach for the stars.
Truth to the Weak (Not Built to Collapse) is the opener, and straight away I can hear that Fire From the Gods will draw a lot of comparison to a band like Sevendust. In my mind, that would be a lazy comparison - Sevendust are a great band, but Fire From the Gods have elements of rap and even hints of reggae in their soundscape, giving them a unique edge to most hard rock acts.
Right Now is melodic hard rock at its finest. AJ Tanners vocals are fantastic - melodic and smooth, but with plenty of spark when necessary. The band are tight, with some great guitars from the duo of Jameson Teat and Drew Walker, and a powerful rhythm section in the guise of Bonner Baker on Bass and Richard Wicander on drums.
The title track steps it up a notch, as it offers the most muscular riffs so far, but this is where that hint of a reggae feel comes in to play. It’s diverse and interesting, and not at all your run of the mill hard rock record. After four listens of the album, I keep coming back to this track as my favourite.
Trust demonstrates the diversity in vocals, while They Don’t Like It has a bit more of a reggae metal feel, thanks in part to the guest vocals of Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. Sonnys presence also makes this a more rap oriented song, but it’s a good fit.
Fight the World is the heaviest moment. Monster riffs, and an opening battle cry of “get the fuck up” get the blood pumping, but the melody remains intact, even during the more aggressive sections of the song. That melody/aggression contrast carries over in to the next track, Victory.
Make You Feel It starts very differently. Gentle piano and a subdued vocal give way to a wall of sound - rapped vocals, and a musical back ground that has a lot in common with dance music, thanks in part to the drum beats. This has lots of commercial appeal. It’s uplifting and easy to connect with.
Next up in the Survivors Prayer Interlude. It’s nothing to rave about, after all it is just an interlude. All My Heroes Are Dead features a huge chorus, one that is sure to incite singalongs in the live setting. There’s a very “nu-metal” vibe to this song.
Out of Time uses the quiet verses heavy contrast well, while Another Level is an angry rap track, again very much a “nu-metal” vibe to this track, but there is some brilliant word play within the lyrics that is worth checking out. I actually really like this song.
The closing track, Break the Cycle, brings back the reggae styled vocals, and initially seems to lack the energy that I thought the closing moments of this record needed. It builds though, and does finish us off on a pretty good note.
You would have heard of the “sophomore slump”, where bands struggle to follow up their debut albums. That doesn’t apply here, as Fire From the Gods have not only equaled their first effort, but well and truly bettered it.