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Thursday, March 24 2011 00:00

BLACKGUARD - FIREFIGHT (Album Review)

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518NwOPBxLL. SL500 AA300 When a melodic death metal band chooses a name that could represent a character from either DUNGEONS & DRAGONS or WARHAMMER, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. This is the case with BLACKGUARD, and though you'd be right in suspecting them to have emerged from somewhere in Europe, these guys (and girl) are Canadian.

With FIREFIGHT, their first album for Chicago's Victory Records (out 3/29/11), the band presents the perfect soundtrack for those hanging out at the local Games Workshop after-hours. It's a commercial-feeling shot at "Epic Metal" that will no doubt be used as the soundtrack to countless "Lord of the Rings" tribute videos on YouTube.

Unlike most albums, the better tracks appear late in the game. "Wasteland" feels like DETHKLOK, delivering a pummeling march that's prime for the pit, while you've got the obligatory folk-metal number called "Iblis" lurking with it's acoustic guitars tucked in the #6 slot. Once you hit tracks 7-9, the battle rages on with "The Fear of All Flesh" (check the breakdown at 2:25!) "A Blinding Light," and "The Path" ripping it up in fine form.

FIREFIGHT is a solid album that unfortunately borrows from so many different places that there's not even a hint of originality present. It's background... if not soundtrack fare, and that might be just what they were going for.

Rating: 2.5/5

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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