Sons Of Liberty - Brush-Fires Of The Mind
Century Media
Heavy Metal
9 songs (45:56)
Release year: 2010
Sons Of Liberty, Century Media
Reviewed by Aleksie
As I’m sure at least Iced Earth-fans have known for a good time, not too long ago the group’s main man Jon Schaffer experienced a powerful socio-political awakening and subsequently put together a new musical project, Sons of Liberty. Although to call it just a musical project today would probably be selling it very short, but more on that near the end of this review.

Musically speaking, Brush-Fires Of The Mind is relatively basic, hard-driving and riff-based heavy metal that in this context clearly harkens back to Iced Earth’s earlier days. In fact, I’d go on to say that those who have felt that IE’s material has been too grandiose and epic in scope for their tastes since The Glorious Burden should like this release real good. The riffage isn’t predominantly as thrashy as those longing for the stylings of Stormrider and Burnt Offerings would probably like it to be (even though Jekyll Island and We The People do their best to speed it up for the moshpitmongers), but the metallic approach throughout the album is a lot “rootsier” than say on the recent Something Wicked-album duo. Even when churning in mid-tempo, the fists are pumping strong with cuts like Indentured Servitude, Don’t Tread On Me and False Flag while The Cleansing Wind hands out a nice breather as a slightly up-tempo acoustic ballad. The large amount of guitar solos (at least compared to IE-albums, I’d say) is also very pleasing.

Schaffer handles the lead vocal duties himself and I gotta say, does a great job at it. While his recognizable bark has been doing a fine job for the few lead appearances it has made since Stormrider, he sounds very confident and fired up on every tune here, singing in a more clean tone than I expected and even sounding just a bit like band mate Matt Barlow at times. The confidence is easy to understand as it’s clear that the subject matter at hand is coming damn straight from Schaffer’s heart.

This is a political record no doubt, but not about partisan politics, as Schaffer wants to specify in an open letter included in the inner sleeve of the album. The illustrations in said sleeve depict, for example, George W. Bush and Barack Obama on a similar level of criminality. The songs revolve around the American Federal Reserve System and how Schaffer sees that the corruption present in the relations of the federal government and the banking industry are bringing down the values of the American revolution, the local constitution, life as we know it, etc. Although I believe Schaffer when he stresses in the aforementioned letter that “This is not an American issue, it is a worldwide issue”, I still have to admit that I would probably find the message herein even more compelling if I was American myself.

Despite this factor, I can also greatly admire that Schaffer has went into a project like this with such a dedicated method. One can easily find generally agreeable rants on the harms caused by say, corruption and a general hunger for power in several songs from Kreator to Exodus to Testament and many more, but Sons of Liberty has a lot more specific aim and goes at it hard. One of the most notable lines in the inner sleeve here is Schaffer’s outright recommendation to “copy this CD for friends and strangers and set brush-fires in the minds of men and women all over the globe.” Just a detail which shows you Schaffer’s dedication to this evident mission of his, carried on for example by the myriad of interviews, links and book/movie recommendations that are listed at the Sons of Liberty-website. Anyone interested on his vision behind this record should definitely go and check it out.

On that note, I guess it would be relatively easy to find this album preachy or over-bearing with the message eclipsing the music, depending on your stance to music delving in general into social commentary. Personally, I’ve never has a problem with that, on the contrary I’ve often found music all the better for it. So while Schaffer’s call to arms on Brush-fires of the Mind isn’t the kind that has me unquestioningly leaping at the barricades, I find it a very interesting and respectable personal statement about the state of our world, which also leaves me waiting for more Sons of Liberty-releases. Although most of all I hope that Iced Earth will keep releasing material at a steady pace regardless.

Killing Songs :
Jekyll Island, Don't Tread On Me, False Flag, Indentured Servitude & We The People
Aleksie quoted 86 / 100
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