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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

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