Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Static Fuse - Fire Endures
   
Musical Style: Metal/Hard Rock Produced By: Ian Keith Hafner
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 2010 Artist Website:
Tracks: 7 Rating: 85%
Running Time: 29:29

Static Fuse - Fire Endures

The past year has been a prolific one for female fronted Christian hard music bands.  Those in doubt only need consider the volume of albums released and variety of styles presented.  If into traditional metal then check out Visalia, California based Testify, who showcase the versatile vocal style of Lynn Louis Lowrey on its 2010 sophomore effort Pushing Back Darkness.  The same year saw HarvestBloom, led by the gut level abilities of Anji Cornette, put out the mixture of hard rock and occasional bluesy overtones that is its EP Devil’s Poison.  Symphonic metal would be the best way to describe Finland’s HB, with Johanna Aaltonen delivering some pristine flavorings on the groups 2010 release The Jesus Metal Explosion.  And let’s not forget Ransom.  Featuring the raspy vocals of Lisa Faxon, Ransom had its 1991self-titled debut re-issued on Intense Millennium Records in early 2011.

At this point the following question begs to be answered: Does the scene have room for yet another female fronted Christian group?  I have to answer with a resounding yes!  Enter the joining of vocalist “Redd” Sonia Sauruk and guitarist Ian Keith Hafner that is Static Fuse.

Staying true to the “classic Christian metal” calling card of its self-titled debut from 2008, Static Fuse returns two years later with another sampling of eighties influenced metal and hard rock on its sophomore release Fire Endures.  Fan of Bride, Whitecross, Holy Soldier, X-Sinner and Rez Band, not to mention many of the previously referenced female fronted groups?  Then you will find a lot to like in Static Fuse.

The main difference this time around is that Fire Endures heads in a bit more of a bluesy direction.  Credit, of course, goes to guitarist Ian Keith Hafner, who takes every opportunity to display his gritty and at times fiery riffs and chops.  I am sure you will agree with me that his playing walks a fine line between other blues heavy guitarists such as Stu Heiss (Resurrection Band) and Troy Thompson (Bride).  Just check out “Still The Same”, with its moving acoustic laced sound, or “Come Home” and “Psalm”, as fine a pair of ballads you will find, for choice examples of his abilities.

It also must be noted the heaviness of the Fire Endures material.  Again, credit Hafner for the forthright rhythm guitar he lays down on straightforward hard rocker “Blowin In The Wind” and high energy pieces “Let It Go” and “Keep On Fighting”.

The main impression left by Fire Endures is the steps and strides made by Static Fuse in terms of its songwriting.  Not that the debut was bad, it deserves every point of the 80% grade I gave it, but the group takes things to the next level here with stronger melodies and chorus hooks throughout.  The lone exception is the albums title track, a short instrumental that kind of fades in and then fades out before it has a chance to get going.  Otherwise, the material here brings enough in terms of versatility and creativity to hold up over the long term.

“Redd” Sonia Sauruk improves upon her solid performance from the debut, which I described as “full of heart and soul but exhibiting a ton of projection in the process”.  If anything, Fire Endures finds her building upon these qualities by singing with that much more confidence and assertiveness.  In terms of power and range, she stands out best on “Come Home”, although “Still The Same” reflects a more moving side to her abilities.

I noticed the upgrade in the area of production on first listen.  Not only does the low end, particularly the bass, stand out further but the guitars deliver added edge and bite as well.  Any hints of rawness still around only help add to the high energy feel here.

A couple of complaints regarding the packaging: The blue text over a purple background can be difficult to read while the two sided insert is on the basic side of things. (Give us a full color mini booklet with lyrics next time around.  Check out the packaging to HarvestBloom’s Devil Poison to understand how this should be done).

Track By Track

“Blowin In The Wind” gets things going to a slicing guitar riff and a pulsating bass line.  What we have here is a short but concise Rez Band style hard rocker, heavy and resilient during its verses but focuses as all get out for its momentum driven chorus.  Lyric snippet:

I'm not gonna fade away
I won't be ruled by shame
I am the one to blame
He, He is real you say

I'll never fade away
Because of the judgment day
You think you know the way
Stand back (Stand back)
Stand back and see the way

A semi-ballad approach is taken on “Psalm”.  Emphasizing equal parts melody and the bluesy driven, the song slows the pace to a grinding mid-paced clip while highlighting polished vocal melodies for its moving chorus and complementary stretch of blues based lead guitar.  Lyric snippet:

Keep me from falling
Keep me from this thing called sin
Keep me from falling I am not mine own to begin
Keep me from falling
Keep me from this thing called sin
I am not mine own to begin

Have compassion on me
Oh Lord God I pray
Make all of these nightmares go away
May I find that only my trust is in You
And you’re loving
You're keeping forgiving me through and through

“Come Home” heads in eighties influenced ballad territory.  The albums longest at six and a half minutes, the song brings all the “trappings” you would expect from a ballad: poignant atmosphere, still done verses (with quietly played guitar leading the way), melodic based chorus (in which the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix) and emotionally done soloing.  This would sound right at home on any Stryper album.  Lyric snippet:

Far off in the distance
I see the home I've always known
On the other side of the hill
A figure standing all alone
His hands held to his eyes
I see
Expression changing fast
I see him weeping
I don't even need to ask

As he ran to greet me
He embraced me
I felt such shame and grief
Father, forgive me
Mistakes I know that I have made
To be a child of yours
I am not worthy!!

Come Home
I want to Come Home

At just the point I am ready for an up-tempo rocker Static Fuse delivers the goods in “Let It Go”.  Highlighting touches of keyboards and occasional clapping hands lend to the energized atmosphere.  The catchy hook, at the same time, is reinforced with conviction while some soulful vocal melodies help smooth things out.  Lyric snippet:

You're beginning to shake
Tryin' to prove your cause
And you try and try
To justify your way

And I have no doubt
You'll know the path to take
All because of pride
Your heart is full of hate

Let it go
Let it go
Let this foolish pride go

“Still The Same” is the albums slowest and most bluesy.  Standing out with its haunting melody, the song advances its length acoustically with a gritty lead guitar decorating the backdrop.  A distinct bass line stands out as does quite the moving performance from Sonia Sauruk (by far the albums best from her).  Lyric snippet:

It seems the world is changing
Rearranging every day
The times are getting crazy
Morals in disarray
They say we’ve come so far
Wisdom of our fathers fades
We long for something better
As the world turns into gray

And You are still the same
Your love will never change
Your love will never change
Salvation never fades
Your promise never breaks
No, it never breaks

A catchy proclivity can be found on determined hard rocker “Keep On Fighting”.  With a stalwart guitar riff leading the way, the song allows for an unyielding tempo along with an uplifting disposition that cannot help but leave you encouraged so as “not to give up the fight of faith”:

I will
Will keep on fighting
All those who try in vain
Will keep on fighting
The good fight of faith

I am trying (still trying)
My faith has been put to the test
I'm remembering (I've learned)
I've learned to give my very best

Instrumental “Fire Endures” closes things out.  Taking a straightforward hard rock approach, the song, as already stated, fades in and slowly fades out before it has a chance to establish itself.  No, not bad but I wished it had been expanded upon in that coming in at two minutes it brings an “incomplete” or “half done” feel .

It is not often that I give high scores to EP based releases- and essentially that is what we have in that Fire Endures clocks in at just under thirty minutes.  The reason I am making an exception is that the material here is of such a high quality.  In looking ahead, I hope Static Fuse delivers a full length offering next time around.  Perhaps a Rez Band cover could be included as well.  And while we are at it, labels such as Retroactive Records, Roxx Productions or Intense Millennium would do themselves a favor by signing Static Fuse.

Review by Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Blowin In The Wind” (3:11), “Psalm” (4:30), “Come Home” (6:38), “Let It Go” (4:28), “Still The Same” (4:56), “Keep On Fighting” (3:41), “Fire Endures” (2:02)

Musicians
Sonia Sauruk – Lead Vocals
Ian Keith Hafner - Guitars

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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