Saturday, April 13, 2024

First Signal in the Line Of Fire

First Signal are onto their third album and show no signs of losing that melodic sheen that Harry Hess and crew are so good at. Their latest addition is Line Of Fire which is probably their best yet. Hess has a long list of recordings and achievements, not least with Harem Scarum. With this ‘new’ band however, he takes the ethos of HS and ramps it up a bit to craft superb melodic rock aided and abetted by Daniel Flores (drums and keyboards), Michael Palace (guitars) and Johan Niemann (bass).

Opener, ‘Born To Be A Rebel’ sets the tone with powerful and classic melodic rock. All the elements are there… great riff, sing-a-long chorus, keys and guitar solo but still in an original way. It’s the sort of song that BJ and JLT would wish they could write today. Harry is on top form with the vocals in range and enunciation and out performs many in this crowded genre, as does Michael Palace. ‘The Last of My Broken Heart’ is the ballad that all melodic rock bands should strive for as the keys lead at the intro and then the ‘Snake-like riff cuts in for Harry’s vocals to take it all to another level. The guitar solo stays the right side of rapid and fits with the theatre of the tune. ‘Walk Through Fire’ is the surprise as they take melodic rock, and filter it through blues-rock and come up with a damn fine tune. ‘Never Look Back’ is ’87 ‘Snake in feel and performance. ‘Here With You’ moves to an acoustic and keys intro and builds a great atmosphere before the main riff hits in a hefty but subtle way… you will be singing this very quickly and waving the lighter (or the modern equivalent: the ‘phone). ‘Falling’ is a solid, faster track with a chugging riff as Harry again puts in a quality performance. Final track ‘The End of the World’ could out Europe early Europe… this is a fine, fine melodic rock anthem and is a perfect wrap up for an album which takes a genre that is in danger of becoming overrun with mediocre and shows them all how it should be done.

It you like melodic rock, there is no doubt at all that this is an essential addition to your collection. It has a depth and majesty that so many strive for and the fall woefully short. Hess has proved his worth with Harem Scarum, but he takes melody to another level on this excellent album and the band he has around him have put together eleven tracks of quality you will want on repeat… it’s that good.

 Line Of Fire will be released via Frontiers Music s.r.l. on 17th May 2019.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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