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Released: 2000, Century Media
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
This is just a weak album, and there’s no excuse for it. None. We’ve got six Germans, a fair amount of guitar talent, lots of leather, blazing speed, and a lot of respect for power metal traditions. So how could this album come out so limp? I struggled with this question each time I listened to FireBall, and I still don’t have an answer. From that standpoint this review may not be worth much more than a conclusory “don’t buy it,” but hey, I’m only human.
FireBall begins with promise, and deals out tantalizing morsels of it. The third track, “High On Devotion,” for instance, begins with a rollicking power metal guitar line, some great melody, and a lot of energy. Then – and this happens several times on various tracks – vocals kick in, the energy saps, the music loses its dynamism, and the song ultimately flops. It’s not that Michael Schinkel is a bad vocalist. He’s not the best, particularly when he gets into the King Diamond ranges, but he’s certainly competent enough to front a classic German power metal band. I just don’t think this material is written or thought out particularly well. It winds up sounding dull and repetitive. There’s not a lot of highs or lows here. Oh, I liked some tracks better than others – “Possibilities,” for instance, which is actually one of the slower tracks on the album – but nothing really stood out. When the album finishes, your first impulse is to shake your head – what happened?
I don’t know, and unfortunately I have no more time to spend on StormHammer to find out. I don’t think FireBall is worth your time or money. I hate to say it, because there probably is a good band in here somewhere, but it’s not evident on this album.
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