Firebird’s Double Diamond is the sixth studio release for this trio. Out on Metal Blade and Rise Above Records, ex-Carcass member Bill Steer formed Firebird. Despite the apparent revolving door of past members the current trio has dropped another release on an unsuspecting public. What can one expect from an ex-Carcass, extreme metal guitarist now playing with hard blues based musicians?
Soulful! Now there is a word one never expected to include in a review of an extreme metal guitarists’ band. This is exactly what Steer and company has delivered to the public, a soulful, ten track, blues master piece. For example, the riffs in “Ruined” are just pure blues genius. The rhythm carried by Witt and May during the song provide the perfect wave to let Steer’s riffs and notes surf in perfect form to the shore. Mixed in with this perfect storm of rhythm, riffs, and other such things are melodic interludes that would make any Chicago blues man, past or present, stop and take notice. Living in Chicago, you have to develop an appreciation for the blues. This style of music is so steeped in the cities history and eventually a good native gets on board and loves the blues. The most melodic and pure blues track on the release, Farewell, sounds like it came out of the old Chess Records studio mixed by some of the early greats. It gives the feeling of being in a smoke filled blues bar somewhere on the south side, at the nexus of some blues nirvana. Farewell has the hook, melody and rhythm that could literally go on forever.
Double Diamond finishes just as strong as it started. The last three tracks, “Arabesque”, “Lose Your Delusions”, and “Pantomime” make their way through an ascent to a mountain top of catchy riffs ending on a contemplative note with enough emotion to make the listener feel like they have just climbed Mount Everest. “Arabesque”, gives us that nice slow climb on rhythm, riffs, and solos with Lose Your Delusions giving way to a fast paced melodic peak punctuated by Steer’s vocal emotions setting the perfect stage for the closer. As the listener coasts towards the finish line “Pantomime” provides the most emotion packed and soulful song on the track. It leaves us to ponder what we have just experienced and wishing there were more all at the same time. All in all a masterful song choice and mix to end what was blues paradise.
The challenge is this, give Double Diamond a chance. It will take only a few notes to realize that metal genius is musical genius, although conveyed in a more calm and apparently organized fashion, but musical genius nonetheless. Keep you eyes on the blues clubs; Firebird may be in your town, and when they show, you should be there and experience a true blues band. They will not disappoint and may even spark a love of new music in you.