ASKA - FIRE EATER ( Pure Steel Records)
(Review by Stefan)
US Metal gods Aska began its quest back in 1990 and has six albums on the counter to date. The band’s first three efforts “Aska”, “Immortal” and “Nine Tongues” were darn good – their fourth cut “Avenger” will be carved in my heart and soul forevermore ! As a devotee of US Metal myself since the very early 80s, “Avenger” belongs to my all time faves, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Yet I remained with a single question: could they maintain this level in the future? To get the answer I had to wait for the next album “Absolute Power”, released seven years later on. The wait was long and the result was really well but unfortunately not achieved the level of its predecessor. Recently, Aska unleashed its sixth and new output “Fire Eater” through Pure Steel Records. Despite our patience was tested for six years, after I had listened to the entire album a few times I was extremely pleased with the final result. Conclusion: it was worth the wait really ! Meanwhile, the band’s charismatic frontman/guitarist George Call was also active in US Metal legends Omen/Banshee and participated on the debut album of US Metal band Warrion, also released through Pure Steel Records. Check Officer Nice’s review right HERE.
At Metal To Infinity webzine, we are strongly connected with US Metal music and we’re proud of! One of our co-editors Rico aka Officer Nice saw Aska many times live on stage, for that will, both George and Rico became friends through the years. To make two reviews of the same CD is quite extraordinary at MTI, it happened but on a very exceptional basis. Only the bands we like with all of our heart deserve this special form of attention, besides Rico’s review I’m excited to write down my own thought on Aska’s new album “Fire Eater” as well.
Opener ‘Everyone Dies’ gives me a very good feeling right away, George Call’s extremely high- pitched vocals to work contagious. The rhythms are rousing, the guitar riffs are vitriolic, bass and drumlins to let the ground underneath your feet vibrate and my heart rate reaches a maximum value as the sharp, melodic guitar solo’s emerge. What a great start for this new Aska album! Next one ‘Dead Again’ has less speed on board but still knows how to touch my soul real deep. Along with following tracks ‘Valhalla’ and the fast ‘Son Of A Gun’, these first 4 pieces of “Fire Eater” does reminds me of the band’s glorious days, the “Avenger” period!
With the son ‘Angela’, the Aska guys take a more easy direction. This is a quite sentimental power ballad I certainly do not want to criticize, still I like to hear them as usual, delivering their Heavy Metal staright forward, pure as can be! On ‘Red Cell’, the vocals are tremendously fantastic but about the song structure they took me by surprise in a certain sense. It doesn’t sound like Aska just as we are used to, it’s the first time I hear these Texans delivering some progressive elements (keyboard use) which gives me some kind of an uncomfortable feeling deep down inside. I’ve listened to the song for several times to date and I honestly can’t get a complete grip on it. Judas Priest fans will be surprised when they hear them play a cover version of ‘The Ripper’. I don’t know how much bands already have been restyled this legendary track but okay, although I was not waiting for just another Priest cover, Aska gets my approval.
‘Year Of Jubilee’ is an epic one where the good old, usual strength of the band is missing. The album closes with the swirling ‘Eye Of The Serpent’, at times the accelerator is firmly pressed as all of the musicians expose the best of themselves. This great last one is loaded with superb guitar riffs and loads of melodic twin guitar tactics, leader in command George Call proves once again what a supreme singer/guitarist he really is. I bow down and praise this master of Metal with all of my heart!
I experienced a few unexpected moments during the songs ‘Red Cell’ and ‘Year Of Jubilee’, even the fact I couldn’t get a full grip on both tracks, “Fire Eater’ still belongs on top of my own favourite Top 20 effort list of 2013. Musically speaking, this new album is located somewhere in between those two previous highlights, “Avenger” and “Absolute Power”. My statement sounds like: nothing but respect and dignity to a band like Aska, a great formation I will always support as good as I can. “Fire Eater” might be not their best album to date, this product is still very recommendable to those on the hunt for some real Heavy Metal thrills… order right HERE.
My Points: 89/100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish