|The Safety Fire - 'Grind The Ocean' (Century Media)|
|Written by David Whistance|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2012 05:00|
Having released their critically acclaimed debut EP 'Sections' way back in 2009 you can't help but wonder why these young Londoner's took so long to release their debut album, but as the saying goes "the best things come to those who wait" unless you're discussing matters to the democracy in a certain Far Eastern country that is.
Back to the business at hand, and having been made aware of The Safety Fire through the usual hushed circles, I was still yet to explore the band's musical heritage, and in doing so I would find myself in the middle of a virtual brawl as emo fans clashed with metal fans as to whether or not the band were Djent or not. Not being a great lover of musical labelling myself I was wondering what the hell this term meant, but I have since discovered that it is the noise created when a guitarist heavily distorts the guitar chords with the palm of the hand and as a genre it is a spin off from the progressive metal favoured by bands such as Meshuggah and Animals As Leaders.
Having listened to 'Grind The Ocean' I still find myself sitting on a rather uncomfortable musical fence contemplating whether it really matters or not if the band are in fact "Djent" especially if the music in question is played so well. So on my initial introduction to the band they are being described to me as young progressive rockers, now being the more mature rocker I still envisage prog rock as featuring tiresomely long soloing, keyboard players dressed as wizards and front men parading around dressed as large flowers. Not so today's new breed, yet when you remove the gruff like vocals and listen to the complex music on offer with someone like The Safety Fire there is definitely still a large nod towards the prog rock of old.
Like any band that has ever been described as progressive though this album may not be for the casual listener seeking out some easy listening, however I would recommend sticking with the music on offer on 'Grind The Ocean' as the complex musical structures and time changes make for some great musical passages. The vocal style throughout the album may be the same tired old/nu skool formula used by so many of the new younger up and coming bands with the gruff death metal like growl followed by the clean melodic vocal phrasing for the hopok but in vocalist Sean Mcweeney there is a uniqueness in his vocal delivery that manages to separate The Safety Fire from many of the other bands on the scene.
Many of the songs on 'Grind The Ocean' weigh in at over six minutes in length and they explore profound emotions, by mixing material from the heavier numbers such as 'Huge Hammers' and 'Animal King' to the gentler refined moments such as 'Circassian Beauties'. Then just when you thought you had heard everything the band can offer they decide to bring jazz to the metal party with the title track 'Grind The Ocean'. Woah its The Safety Fire's very own 'Jazz Odyssey'.
Overall then a great diverse, groove-laden album that will reward the listener eventually - it just may take a few listens!!!
To pick up your copy of 'Grind The Ocean' - CLICK HERE