RATING: (6 out of 10) RELEASE DATE: March 6th, 2012 LABEL: Sony/Provident/Flicker REVIEWED ON: April 14th, 2012 REVIEWED BY: Joshua ClarkREVIEW
It was in 2006 that Fireflight released their debut album, The Healing of Harms, and since then they have released three other full-length releases, the latest being Now. Since it had been about two years since Fireflight’s last album, I was looking forward to some new tunes from the band.
Ever since their first album I have always enjoyed Fireflight’s music. I have always enjoyed Dawn Michele’s soaring vocals and the band’s brand of hard rock. Along with that I have always found their lyrics to be great anthems that focused heavily on issues people deal with regularly in life. This has sort of become the formula for Fireflight on each of their albums; generally they are able to produce some great new tracks and do it tastefully enough that I haven’t minded the similar style. However, on Now, I sadly am feeling like this is rather similar to past material. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when several of these tracks don’t outdo past material, it is a bit of a letdown.
“Stay Close” starts off the album with great guitar riffs and powerful vocals. It is definitely a great rock track and a highlight of the album. The only problem with the placement of this track is several of the following tracks don’t compare to this bombastic opening.
“Ignite” is a decent rock track that launches into one of the album's other highlights, “Escape.” Musically the track was something a little different for the band’s norm, and it provides a powerful chorus. Dawn’s vocals excel here and match beautifully with the background vocals provided by lead guitarist Justin Cox.
“Escape (We don’t want to save ourselves)/We will not be contained/(Let’s fly away with all the angels)/We’re breaking out tonight/Fear is not our master anymore/
Run with me, Escape/We’re breaking out tonight
“He Weeps,” while a nice ballad, reminds me too much of “Name” off their last album and doesn’t outshine “Name.”
The next four tracks really don’t do too much for me. The instrumentals are strong and the vocals are great as usual, but these tracks blend in with one another, and when they are held up against others on the album, they fall flat.
“Rise Above” stands out as being one of the album's few mellow tracks. Dawn’s vocals are particularly strong on this track as she adds to the emotional power on this anthem. This track is all about not letting our mistakes and failures keep us down instead of taking a chance and putting all of that aside and living our lives to the fullest. It’s a powerful track and is loaded with a great message.
“Now” then takes that message from “Rise Above” and puts it into action by telling the listener this is your time to act now and to not let anything hold you back. This ends the album on a high note with this explosive, yet short, fast-paced track.
This album leaves me stuck somewhere in the middle. While it is a decent rock record in it’s own right due to Dawn’s powerful vocals and tight musicianship, it doesn’t stand out to me as Fireflight’s best album. It is not as strong as The Healing of Harms or Unbreakable, and I feel like too much of this is similar to For Those Who Wait. It’s a solid release by a great band, just not one of the band's best efforts. There are definitely a few tracks here that are must-haves, but the rest seemed rather generic to me. The passion and talent is still there, but this fourth release didn’t push any new boundaries for the band. Yet despite all that this is still a band that can rock with the best of them and continues to encourage and uplift hurting souls.