Release Date: 2003

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You may remember the Polish band Rapid Fire’s first Metal Express mention in the recent Defenders of Metal review, but then again, maybe not. Regardless, they stood above the rest of the bands on that compilation with the song “Ligeia,” written because of their fascination with Edgar Allan Poe, and of course, hot dead chicks.

Their release Demo 2 consists of the aforementioned track and seven others. Four of those seven tracks are redone with an “orchestra,” namely being the addition of keyboards. Still, with or without the name “and Orchestra” added to the track title, they are worthy of checking out.

The CD begins with a dark, angry song called “The Exorcist.” This is a slow, doom metal song, (inspired by the movie), with the chorus yelled in a sort of death metal whisper. In this case, the added keyboards create a creepier vibe than without, especially at the end, when the song bleeds away to soft keyboards.

“Desert Hunter” is not something that gets better with the artistic touch of keyboards. In fact, besides the almost unbelievably fast drumming, this is the one time Rapid Fire sort of misses the mark, although it chugs. But with lyrics like “Desert Hunters, lords of sands,” it falls a little short of the high mark they set with their other songs.

“Elders Blood” has a sort of heavy majesty to it; that’s the best way to explain it. “To Forget” is a dirge with an emotional chorus, an almost Type O’ Negative construction that keeps admitting, “I want to forget you, I want to forget you, I want you to be far away …” Excellent song.

Of course, “Ligeia” is their best song. If you haven’t heard it, at the very least, go to their Website and download it. It is surprising the images the band can evoke from their spare vocals. In other words, they don’t write lengthy sentences, but what they write packs a punch. All you have to do is listen to the chorus one time, and you’ll be a Rapid Fire fan. “And I would cry for you, summoning your demons, And I would kill for you, but kill her for myself …”

Finally, when you come to “Desideratum,” you’ll get a thrash-sounding song, a foray into something you have yet to hear on the CD, but they pull it off well. Great drumming, coupled with vocals and riffing that lean towards old-school Metallica in parts. The guitar solo isn’t Yngwie, but that means it’s something you’ll want to hear — fast and intricate, but not masturbatory.

Rapid Fire does a lot of things right. What they need now is a chance to show off their skills in a glossier, more professional avenue than the demo CD, something you should do your best to get your hands on. The talent is there — let’s hope someone snags them up and promotes the hell out of them. They’ve got something to say …

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