ASKA - Fire Eater
October 6, 2013, 6 years ago
Been six years since the Texas traditional metallers released an album. During that time, their profile grew, thanks in part to numerous energetic festival gigs (on both sides of the Atlantic) and singer/guitarist/founder George Call moonlighting in / adding vocals to the likes of OMEN and BANSHEE. As with the five earlier entries in the ASKA catalog (dating back two decades!), there’s a mix of blazing, IRON MAIDEN inspired numbers, standing alongside infectious, mid-tempo songs that serve to highlight Call’s smooth voice, plus the odd ballad or cover tune. Lyrics tend to the historical and this time around, more in-studio ear candy embellishments are evident. ‘Everyone Dies’ kicks things off, speeding out of the starting blocks, but it’s songs like ‘Dead Again’, ‘Harlot Of Eden’ and ‘Son Of A God’, built around that distinctive ASKA riff, that really stand out. Acoustic guitar and military cadence snare drumming (courtesy of George’s brother Damon, while Danny White continues to handle the live duties) begin the ‘Angela’ ballad. They completely deconstruct JUDAS PRIEST’s ‘The Ripper’: exaggerated pace, yet intriguing. The progressive, keyboard laced ‘Red Cell’ is politically charged, while the synth heavy, Broadway style ‘Year Of Jewbilee’ will probably be misconstrued as Born Again rhetoric. ‘The Last Message’ is a two-minute sci-fi voice-over/sound effects exercise (no music at all). Just when you fear there won’t be another racer, ASKA end with ‘Eye Of The Serpent’, a collaboration with Swiss outfit EMERALD (who Call guested with in 2012, albeit a different version of this same tune). Personally, would have made a few edits and could have used yet another barn burner, but this still kickin’ my ASKA!