Trial Through Fire is an appropriate title for City Of Fire’s sophomore outing because what started out so pure and filled with so much hope became this lengthy ordeal that resulted in an album that quietly dropped with barely a whimper back in April of this year. The drama aside of a Pledgemusic campaign that launched in 2011 and only just came to fruition in 2013 aside, a whimper is definitely not the kind of sound you’ll be hearing from City Of Fire here on their second album.
Known best for featuring Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell and former FF and Strapping Young Lad and current 3 Inches Of Blood bassist Byron Stroud (Along with members of Caustic Truth), City Of Fire is not an industrial monster or a schizophrenic thrashfest. They’re…something else. Heavy rock at times, but mostly metal overall, the band create something unlike any of their previous outfits and it works so perfectly.
The record as a whole is just leaps and bounds above their debut (Which was still a feat unto itself). Bell takes his range to a whole new level from the quiet spoken word intro of opener “Deliver Me” that builds into a throaty scream through to the gothic overtones of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” which ends the album.
Bell isn’t the only one who stepped up his game here as guitarists Sho Murray and Ian White slay with riff after riff. Whether it’s the vicious Fear Factory-esque “Dichotomy Blues” or the wailings of “Bad Motivator” (Which I reviewed back in January of 2012…You know, the year the album was supposed to come out!), the COF guitarists display an uncanny knack for finding the right reason to use the right riff. Even Bob Wagner steps up his game with the pounding he delivers to tracks like “Follow Mantis” and “Prometheus Bound” or on a track like the complex shanty of “Oceanaut” where it all comes together for City Of Fire.
Trial Through Fire is available now. If you’re a smart heavy rock fan, you’ll grab a copy now here.