Fire for Effect – Artillery Unleashed
Reviewed: January 2020
Released: 2019, Independent
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Cancer is a Motherf@#ker.
Originally conceived as a solo project for former Malevolent Creation guitarist Gio Ceraca, Fire for Effect really started to gain some legs after Brett Malev Hoffman joined the band after his own departure from Malevolent, a band he also co-founded. From there, the band evolved into a virtual supergroup – Tony Choy joined the ranks (ex-Pestilence, Atheist), Mike Smith (ex-Suffocation) joined on and was eventually succeeded by Derek Roddy (ex-Hate Eternal, dozens of other classic bands), and a deal was inked with Agonia Records.
And then Brett Hoffman was diagnosed with colon cancer. And almost as quickly as he was diagnosed, he was gone from this world.
Geraca and company soldiered on, finishing a handful of tunes with Hoffman’s vocal tracks – the result of which is the ARTILLERY UNLEASHED EP. Released digitally in late 2019, it barely made a ripple in the metal press, but listening to the album in the twilight hours of the decade as we’re revisiting all of the music we missed along the way, one thought comes to mind – Holy…F#&cking S#!t.
ARTILLERY UNLEASHED is like Bolt Thrower on steroids for a new generation. Classic, old school death metal riffs matched with technical proficiency and the unique vocal charisma that Hoffman had long since trademarked, it’s truly a testament of what could’ve been. Songs like “Into the Breech” and “Objective is Achieved” raze with galloping riffs, blast beats, and melodic runs – delivering blistering knuckle dusters to the sternum that will knock you on your ass. It’s incredible stuff, and as for Hoffman, it’s a performance on par with THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and RETRIBUTION.
For all intents and purposes, Fire for Effect is done and ARTILLERY UNLEASHED will be the one and only capture of what could’ve been. There’s no merch to be bought, no albums to be ordered, only the music that remains immediately at your disposal with a keystroke and click of a few buttons towards your favorite streaming service. Despite the controversy that would eventually follow Malevolent Creation and the remaining member(s), Brett Hoffman was one of us, and was one of the good guys. Celebrate his legacy and the legacy of classic death metal by cranking this loud.