February 18, 2019 Spirits of Fire – Spirits of Fire (Album Review)
Spirits of Fire are an intense new Heavy Metal supergroup featuring the brilliance of Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra Guitarist Chris Caffery, Testament/Death Bassist Steve Di Giorgio, ex-Fates Warning/Warlord Drummer Mark Zonder, and ex-Judas Priest Vocalist, the great Tim “Ripper” Owens. One of several new Metal albums this year, Spirits of Fire are slated to release their self-titled debut album, Spirits of Fire, on Friday, February 22, 2019, thanks to the good people at Frontiers Music S.R.L.
Classic Metal for 2019, Owens, Caffrey, Di Giorgio, and Zonder formulate a band of four superb musicians. A renowned front-man, Owens is widely known for his screaming vocal stylings that made late 1990s/early 2000s Judas Priest albums, 1997’s Jugulator and 2001’s Demolition, scare the heck out of anyone who dared to press play on their CD player. Nowadays, Owens is busy with bands like Dio Disciples, and even shares the mic alongside Vocalists Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin and Sean “The Hell Destroyer” Peck in another new supergroup, the Three Tremors, who just released their own debut album on January 18th.
As for Caffrey, the legendary axeman of Savatage continues his immensely successful run in the Christmas themed Trans-Siberian Orchestra, putting his remarkable talent on display for sold-out audiences around the globe. A frightening rhythm section, Di Giorgio has rattled the bass for some of Heavy Metal and Death Metal’s finest, from Iced Earth to Obituary and his current stint in Testament. Last but not least, Zonder is the founding drummer in Los Angeles, California’s Warlord. In addition, Zonder also performed with Progressive Metal veterans Fates Warning from 1988-2005. A third chapter, Zonder now gifts his all-around percussion skills to Spirits of Fire. Not to be forgotten, the recording process for Spirits of Fire was graced by prominent California based Producer Roy Z. (Bruce Dickinson, Halford, Tribe Of Gypsies).
All this seasoned expertise between these Metal warriors, it is clear that Spirits of Fire is not just any supergroup thrown together for the sake of making an album. No, after listening to the band’s debut, Metal fans will recognize ballsy, true to heart, well thought out songwriting. Epical, Spirits of Fire is made up of eleven tracks featuring several songs which harken back to the lost days of long Heavy Metal pieces ranging from six to seven minutes or more. That in mind, to fans starving for new bands influenced by old-school Metal, you will starve no more.
The first single, “Light Speed Marching,” opens Spirits of Fire with a substantial display of dynamic, sinister Speed/Thrash Metal guitar. This track will bring fans back to classic Tim “Ripper” Owens’ Judas Priest, as his vocals fit the band like a puzzle. Ready for war, “Temple of the Soul” harnesses a groove that takes the band into battle with Heavy Metal as their weapon.
Devious, “All Comes Together” ushers in the band’s onymous calling card, “Spirits of Fire,” forking over Caffrey’s flashy opening guitar riffs and a jarring chorus. As the probing nature of “It’s Everywhere” chases down its prey, “A Game” sees Spirits of Fire deliver a slow yet edgy groove layered with muddy and swampy riffs. Saying it all, tracks like “Stand and Fight” and “Meet Your End” make good segues for the pleasing stop-and-go rhythm of “Never To Return,” where the band channel the mood of legends like Queensrÿche, Mötley Crüe, and Dio.
Nearing the end, Spirits of Fire culminates via two dramatic numbers. On “The Path,” Spirits of Fire play a mellow first three minutes before the track picks up to uncover a fascinating story. Before fading to black, “Alone in the Darkness” is a somber cut symbolizing the anxiety of pain and the challenge to rise above and move on.
At the end of the day, Spirits of Fire are a striking Heavy Metal quartet to be taken very seriously. Not one song on Spirits of Fire sounds like it was placed on the album as a filler. Having said that, the entire band shines with songwriting talent as they all draw inspiration from their main bands. Savatage fans will especially be able to hear Caffrey’s writing and influence throughout the album. After absorbing Spirits of Fire, Metal fans should easily be in unison with the album’s alluring vocals, blistering guitar, punishing rhythms, and the diverse layers of choruses and bridges which totally consume the mind. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Spirits of Fire 4.5 out of 5 stars.