WILDIRE - Smokin'
January 5, 2020, 20 days ago
Guerssen Records are doing a great job reissuing early hard rock and proto-metal albums, such as this 1971 debut from Wildfire. Love the backstory here: this California band was found by a Texas promoter, who took them to Austin, where they gigged and recorded these eight songs, which were only ever pressed on a demo LP sold as a private pressing at one record store in southern California. It’s been bootlegged, and it’s been sought after, and now Smokin’ has been brought back to life by Guerssen.
And it’s awesome: opener “Stars In The Sky” has huge riffs and a willingness to explore, as the trio threaten to get proggy but mainly just keep it simple and heavy. “Don’t Look For Me” is boogie done right—which it rarely is; “Free” is the heaviest track of the lot here (at first, anyway), opening with a pretty big proto-metal riff that sort of carries over into next track, the similarly heavy “What Have I Got Now.” The 11-minute “Quicksand” is really cool, worth the trip, fairly heavy, definitely hard-rockin’, and a ton of fun. Granted, most of the material here isn’t proto-metal as much as it is classic ’70s power-trio hard rock, but it’s got enough crashing and bashing for Bravewords readers to want to invest in this, even if I wish songs like “Time Will Tell” had a bit more grit ‘n’ gristle to them. Still, I can’t say much bad about this incredibly solid, tight, and enjoyable album: why have Wildfire basically been forgotten in hard rock history? This cool release shows they certainly deserve better.