FIRES OF BABYLON – Fires Of Babylon

FIRES OF BABYLON - Fires Of Babylon
  • 6.5/10
    FIRES OF BABYLON - Fires Of Babylon - 6.5/10


Metal Heaven
Release date: April 25, 2008

User Review
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In 2006, Winters Bane released the very strong Redivivus on the Metal Heaven label. The album proved to be a comeback of sorts, musically speaking, for the group’s guitarist and songwriter Lou St. Paul. The A&R of Metal Heaven was so impressed that they asked St. Paul to write material in a classic Metal vein and assemble a band around it. The line-up ended up to be quite impressive as St. Paul gathered around him bassist Kelly Conlon, who previously has performed primarily Technical Death Metal in beloved bands such as Death and Monstrosity, as well as his own band Infinity Minus One. Drummer Robert Falzano had previously toured with the mighty Annihilator, and thus was no stranger to heavy music either! And, on vocals, Rob Rock, who has been called “The Voice of Melodic Metal,” and certainly not without reason; with a recording career that started with the cult M.A.R.S. Project (Tony Macalpine, Tommy Aldridge, Rob Rock, Rudy Sarzo) and the critically praised Project: Driver album in 1986 — he went on to sing for Joshua and Angelica as well as collaborating with Roy Z in Driver before joining Impelliterri for a number of years. He also sang on albums for Axel Rudi Pell and Warrior, not to mention participating on various guest appearances throughout the years. Needless to say, his track record is staggering and with quality performances an ever mainstay, he is probably one of the most respected vocalists of this day and age.

The concept of St. Paul and Rock collaborating sounds like a wet dream for any enthusiast of Melodic and crunchy American Metal. And, for a reasonably large part, it is. Not surprisingly, since Rock has lent his voice to several virtuoso players over the years, and here his majestic vocals blend in great over St. Paul’s steel-laden guitar work.

The project has been called 80’s-sounding, but really, it’s much more modern akin’, even more so than the pairs recent output, especially where the Orchestral sounds, due to extensive use of keyboards, are concerned. The keys are pretty much constant and a little too high in the mix –- the menacing and gritty guitar sound alone would have done just fine at places. On the other hand, the keys contribute with making the project sound grand and big, such as the case with for example “Lazarus Rising,” and it’s still freaking heavy; no worries there chaps!

Otherwise, it follows pretty close to the most recent Winters Bane release and the aforementioned strangely underrated Redivivus, which seemed to pass along somewhat unnoticed compared to much less stellar CD’s of a similar genre. Its kind of unfortunate that Winters Bane is still pretty much exclusively known for once house-holding future Judas Priest, Iced Earth, and current Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist, Tim “Ripper” Owens within its ranks. As underrated as St. Paul is, though, as a guitarist and songwriter, even in the impressive line-up setting of Fires Of Babylon, he’s still the star with an endless showing off of a display of chops, licks, riffs, leadwork blazing with fury and yet dropping with class. Along with the music, one would expect, considering the musicians involved, the lyrics also serve to be satisfyingly predictable, and tales of apocalyptic themes, chaos, descent (yet hope), that is often recurring within Christian Metal, can also be heard here.

Upon first listens, Fires of Babylon can give a fairly overwhelming, almost slightly chaotic impression with its wall of sound and it’s really not quite up there alongside Redivivous and Rock’s last couple solo releases… or some other past works of his huge catalog. There isn’t a bad song evident here per se, but some songs are not quite as memorable as others and the mentioned use of keys high in the mix serves, at times, to its disadvantage. That aside, as a display of high quality Melodic American Heavy Metal, it should not go unnoticed and will probably be of satisfaction to followers of Lou St. Paul and Rob Rock.


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