We all know war is a typical theme in metal. There’s just so much fuel to keep these destructive fires going—be it in the black, death, heavy, power, or thrash genres; or by bands like Marduk, Sodom, Sabaton, or Iced Earth. Wherever exists that thing where men and women meet and kill each other, you can expect to hear about it in metal. Especially as this world turns more and more to shit. There’s no shortage of hate and angst to stoke the flames. But, let’s turn to those artists determined to use the art of history to mold their own. Like Sabaton, Belgium’s FireForce focuses all their energy around battles come-and-gone, the bravery of the few, and the historical instances that led to war. With two albums under their belt, this five-piece is back with another history lesson. This time on Greece’s Oxi Day, the Danevirke, the infamous Iron Brigade, and much more. So, come along, dweebs. School’s in session. Grab your Thermos and knapsack, it’s time to get learneded.

OK, now, don’t get too excited. While the themes are solid and most of the songwriting works, FireForce is a pretty standard Sabaton-meets-Grave Digger power metal act. Though much of debut, March On, had energy, the songwriting was quite generic and Flype’s vocals were heavy on a power-metally Angelripper approach. Then 2014’s Deathbringer arrived. And, with it came a better vocal performance and all-around superior songwriting. If you know the band and you know Deathbringer, then you already know this year’s Annihilate the Evil. Not that Annihilate is a carbon copy, but the direction is pretty spot on. Annihilate the Evil ain’t no power-metal record of the year, but it’s simple and its bigness makes it fun.

As far as repeat listens go, the front and back pages of this album aren’t the tracks that keep me coming back. “The Boys from Down Under” and “Herkus Mantas” aren’t bad, but they’re pretty generic: standard choruses, crisp power-metal riffs, and just enough energy to make them listenable. Songs like “Fake Hero,” “Oxi Day,” “Thyra’s Wall,” and “White Lily (Okhotnik),” on the other hand, are keepers. All have the kind of choruses that stick to you like goatheads and that passion that’s only found in power metal. While “Fake Hero” takes on some mid-paced riffage and one of the more fist-pumping choruses of the record, the other three go for the jugular. As in-your-face as the day it’s written for, “Oxi Day” fucks around with Tommy Angelripper-esque vox and a clenched riff that knocks the listener on her/his ass midway through (much like “Fake Hero” does in its midsection). Like “Oxi Day,” “White Lily” calls upon more Sodom-ish vox (with full-band shouts nestled between) to support its addictive little riff. “Thyra’s Wall” also puts forth some balls. It has a quick, sharp lick that slices through its chorus and powers on to a stop-and-go chug, throttled by bass drums. After that, the entire song gives way to an upfront bass guitar and a unique, yet captivating, melodic interlude.

But, those four are the best. “Defector (Betrayer of Nations)” and “The Iron Brigade” have their moments (and choruses), but they’re all missing pieces that would make them great. “Defector” is another mid-paced piece (like “Fake Hero”) with one of the biggest choruses on the record. But its melodic qualities aren’t as convincing as those of its counterpart. Likewise, “The Iron Brigade” carries much of the same vibe and attitude as “Oxi Day,” but lacks its umph. It has some tasty full-band shouts (much like “White Lily”) and a chorus straight from Dream Evil, but it’s just another fun, solid ditty.

Also fun is the closing cover of The Rolling Stones‘ “Gimme Shelter.” As far as covers go, it’s quite respectable. It’s also a much better cover than the Tygers of Pan Tang cover on Deathbringer. Also respectable is the mix and mastering. It ain’t gonna win any awards, but Annihilate the Evil sounds good, which helps make repeat listens bearable. In the end, I have my favorite tracks and I spend most of my time with them. Much like I do with those on Deathbringer.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Limb Records
Websites: fireforceband.com | facebook.com/fireforceband
Releases Worldwide: September 1st, 2017

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  • jjohn

    Man… as a Greek I am really-really afraid to listen to that ‘Oxi Day’ song. Damn Belgium… I’m going to write a crappy euro-power song about your history too.

    • They have it coming.

    • Nukenado

      I’m waiting for a Japanese power metal band to sing about WWII.
      That’ll be my ultimate trolling band used to troll people back home (I’m Chinese).

      • I’m going to go searching down the internet rabbit hole for that right now!

      • Unwanted Guest

        Japan has many skinhead punk bands and some right-wing metal bands, but they rarely sing about WWII. They sing about racial pride and samurai spirit. They don’t want to sing about the history. What can they sing about the complete failure?

        • Nukenado

          The original comment was mostly a joke…

          • Unwanted Guest

            Sorry. I did it again… I have a tendency of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

          • Nukenado

            No worries. I’m just an asshole though.

          • Unwanted Guest

            Me too.

          • Nukenado

            AMG is a big, warm, happy dysfunctional family.

    • defjam

      Plus we just lost to Belgium a couple of hours ago, so that’s another serious reason not to listen to them.

  • Wes Allen
    • Nag Dammit

      So, I’m wearing camo paint in an urban setting. What you want to make of it?

  • Norpal Nordickson

    Not mentioning Bolt Thrower as an example of war-themed bands, smdh.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Didn’t want to put that name into this review…

      • Eli Valcik

        Didn’t want to associate them.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Bingo.

    • Nukenado

      That wouldn’t be a fair comparison in terms of sound though.

      • Norpal Nordickson

        Neither is Marduk.

        EDIT: It was just an off-hand quip anyway.

        • Nukenado

          Yeah, guess you’re right.

  • Thatguy

    Thanks, Doc. The embedded song has just about every metal cliche I hate and the singer is doing strange calisthenics.

    Boys from down under? I think these dudes would be laughed off any stage her in Oz.
    .

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, that video is hard to watch. After I saw it, it made it hard to listen to the song again.

    • Good fitness is an important part of touring.

  • This reminds of a modern day Rose Tattoo.

  • Mollusc

    The serpent (male/Sir Allen) and the ship (female/Jorn) annihilate each other’s evil, thus allowing them to join (uniting masculine/feminine principles)) and become whole. Not sure how evils would cancel each other out. The band wear camouflage trousers so I assume they escape from their wives/partners and shoot the shit out of each other with paintball guns at weekends.

    • The member on the far right is in a normal pair of jeans, apparently not a fan of the whole idea or he forgot about the paintball match lined up after band practice.

      • Mollusc

        I think the camo pattern only comes out under UV light

  • Tofu muncher

    Well, as long as it’s not oomph.

  • Master of Muppets

    Immediate +1000 power metal points for having a dwarf in the band.