Brother Firetribe - Diamond in the Firepit
Spinefarm Records
Melodic AOR
12 songs (46' 51")
Release year: 2014
Brother Firetribe, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Andy

Despite being born about 20 years too late to end up as an MTV staple, Brother Firetribe hasn't let that stop them from releasing another eerily picture-perfect 80s-style melodic rock album in the form of their latest LP, Diamond in the Firepit. While it still has the same basic elements as their last album, Heart Full of Fire, it's slightly heavier and Emppu Vuorinen's guitar has a more prominent role, which very few people will be unhappy about.

Love Is Not Enough, a fairly quick-paced track, shows this off with an excellent melody. Tomppa Nikulainen's synths are smooth and slick as anything from Journey, the guitar riffs have just the right amount of roughness to blend with the keyboards and give them the backing that they need, and Pekka Heino's high tenor is a treat to hear. Far Away From Love is one of those lazily winding party songs that sound positive even when the subject matter is, in fact, a breakup; Desperately, on the other hand, is mid-tempo, warm, and heavy with synth, with Heino ranging from a husky croon to a high trill. I wasn't a big fan of Edge of Forever, a synthesizer-driven dance-rock piece with a lots of layered chorus vocals singing fairly meaningless lyrics, though Emppu's solo on it is nice to hear -- but then, Hanging by a Thread not only has a better solo, but sounds less like album filler, and the angelic ringing of its background keyboard riff is just as much a time machine as the choppy chords of Edge of Forever, so there's plenty of competition among the tracks. After all, if we're going to listen to the distilled essence of 80s glam rock, we might as well not hear the bad parts, but occasionally, they bob to the surface in this album.

Winner Takes It All is more of a Van Halen-style rock song, something from the Sammy Hagar era, and on this one the guitar work is stunning. I've raved on enough about the perfect renditions of the 80s Brother Firetribe accomplishes here, but let me say that in addition to the little Halen-esque solos thrown in throughout the track, the rhythm guitar drives the entire song and gives it just enough heaviness to overcome the often saccharine-sweet keyboards. There's even a short bass solo. Tired of Dreaming and Reality Bites are back to a mid-tempo beat, but they've still got enough heaviness to attract most metalheads who don't get horrific flashbacks of their mullet days when listening to this kind of tune -- think Bon Jovi at their best, especially on Reality Bites. The album closes with Close to the Bone, which starts like a slower version of Reality Bites, but soon acquires a distinct flavor of its own, the sort of rock song you'd be slow-dancing to with your girl despite the emphatic chorus.

I'm trying to think if there was a movie in the 80s about a group of rock musicians who get sent to the future to bring party rock to the world; if the guys in it were from Finland, I'd be wondering now if it was actually supposed to be a documentary. Suffice it to say that they manage to get everything from the mainstream metal of the approximate middle of that decade, the good and the bad, into this album -- not retro so much as a lovingly made reproduction of an original that is no longer in service. If one has growling brutality as a prerequisite for listenability, this probably isn't the album you're looking for -- but anyone with even a little bit of nostalgia for the 80s will like this a lot.

Killing Songs :
Love is Not Enough, Winner Takes It All
Andy quoted 89 / 100
Chris quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Brother Firetribe that we have reviewed:
Brother Firetribe - Heart Full Of Fire reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 88 / 100
Brother Firetribe - False Metal reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 88 / 100
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