Welcome to the LOUDEST DOT COM ON THE PLANET!
KNAC.COM News Reviews and More Watch The Latest Videos Buy KNAC T-shirts and More


HALL AFLAME Amplifire

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Tuesday, June 18, 2024 @ 9:48 AM


- advertisement -
HALL AFLAME
Amplifire

Rat Pak Records - 2024




While METAL CHURCH fans eagerly await the follow up to that band's most recent release Congregation of Annihilation (setting aside the upcoming live release that is coming out from Rat Pak Records for the moment), guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof is hardly resting on his laurels.

After the release of the band's debut album Guaranteed Forever back in 1991, there's never been another album from the HALL AFLAME...until now!

The Amplifire album features both Vanderhoof and bassist Brian Smith from the lineup that did the first album. The new man behind the drum kit is Bill Raymond while stepping up to the microphone this time around is vocalist Scott Nutter. And believe me, that is a HUGE thing...but I'll get to that as this article progresses.

There were two songs released (with videos) before the album came out and they were both a couple of songs that would end up being particular favorites as I played the album more than a few times.

The first song is "The Same Gutter", a straightforward hard rocking gem. In fairness, that description would likely fit each of the 12 songs on the album since there is not a slow or ballad type number to be found. But still this one was so superbly done that if you can't love the song, I have to say I'd think something was wrong with you. HA!

The combination of Vanderhoof, Smith and Nutter writing the songs as a group gave the album a kind of uniform thematic sensibility, but don't let that fool you into thinking the material all sounds the same.

The second single is "1974" and if you guessed that this song is packed with a set of nostalgic look back lyrics to the song title's year and what it was to grow up back then, well...you'd be right. The song enjoys a rollicking pace and there's a cool rhythmic vibe to it throughout. Having grown up back then myself (though I was younger than Vanderhoof), I can appreciate what the song is saying. Check out the official video for the track on KNAC.COM HERE.

On the track "Ripcord", while there is still plenty of rocking pace to the song, the tempo change woven into the song lets Nutter's delivery of a more measured and softer vocal take give the song a far more interesting texture to the overall track.

Now, I mentioned how I really liked what singer Scott Nutter brings to the table for the Amplifire album. Clearly he's a good singer to begin with but what really captured my attention was how he can take his slightly grittier singing voice and use that grit to give a song an added edge to it. It really takes on a life of its own on the song "This Ain't Love".

Of course, with Kurdt Vanderhoof playing on the album as well as writing material and producing the album, he plays the expected huge role in what is HIS side project. The song "It Ain't Enough" has an excellent guitar solo on it that reminds the listener that there is any number of styles that Vanderhoof can play in. METAL CHURCH has the sound and fury of heavy metal, PRESTO BALLET has a more progressive bent, but HALL AFLAME captures that classic rock feel without sounding the least bit out of date.

Another song that stands out so much that my notes for this review included the phrase "Killer Rocker" was "Gunnin'". The band as a whole is really firing on all cylinders on this track so as I repeatedly listened to the album, I came to find myself looking forward to hearing this song a lot. The lyrical content is delivered in such a way that you find yourself kind of bopping your head along as Nutter sings.

While the album doesn't have a true SLOW song on it, the track "Pullin Me Apart" does find itself powered for a good long portion of the song by an acoustic guitar. Now the song does grow into a harder sounding rock number as the track progresses but I liked the way that guitar was threaded into the sound. It has the right kind of switchup to make the song come together in such a tightly cohesive whole. On top of all that, I loved the lyrics to this one as well.

The riff that kicks off "Long Way Down" is pure gold. It kickstarts the full on rocker into high gear from the first notes. Add in a strong performance from Scott Nutter with a raspy delivery that has a razor sharp edge at the same time. This is the kind of song that would get my fists pumping in the air at a concert for sure.

On "Keeping Them All Away", after the initial flurry of rock and roll goodness, the tempo does slow down a bit during the main lyrical sections of the song. Not enough to consider it a "slow" song but as it ramps up in the chorus, you feel as if the band flipped a switch to become more of a hard driving for the rest of the song. And that solo? HOLY COW! Vanderhoof was on fire with that one. And Nutter has a nice touch of the vicious and nasty to his singing in the song's chorus too. The guy's performance throughout the album was for me, kind of a revelation.

The last two songs on the album are billed as "bonus tracks", but however you think of them, both "Cowboy" and "Paradise On Ice" are uptempo numbers that keep you on adrenaline fueled musical high as the album comes to an end.

I've been a long time fan of METAL CHURCH. Yet, despite knowing about the various side projects that Kurdt Vanderhoof has been involved with, I had never taken the time to check any of them out. But I was so excited by the announcement for this album, that I had to hear what was going on. That turned out to be one of the smarter decisions I'm likely to make all year.

Chock full of great songs and performances, Amplifire amply demonstrates the decades-long layoff between albums has done little to diminish what HALL AFLAME can bring to the table. A pure hard rocking gem that pays tribute to the classic rock of the 1970s while staying in step with the modern day at the same time. One of the best releases of the year!

5.0 Out Of 5.0


Back to Top

 

 

 Recent Reviews
PROFANATICA, STORMRULER In Los Angeles, CA With Photos!
200 STAB WOUNDS Manual Manic Procedures
WAGE WAR Stigma
ALCEST Les Chants De L'Aurore
ILLDISPOSED In Chambers Of Sonic Disgust
AXEL RUDI PELL Risen Symbol
STYX, FOREIGNER, JOHN WAITE In Houston, TX With Photos!
HEATHEN, WARSENAL, INFRARED, BONDED BY STRENGTH In Ottawa, CA
HALL AFLAME Amplifire
INSOMNIUM, OMNIUM GATHERUM, WILDERUN In Dallas, TX With Photos!
ULCERATE Cutting The Throat Of God
FU MANCHU The Return Of Tomorrow
ABORTED Vault of Horrors
TESLA, KURT DEIMER In Houston, TX With Photos!
FOUR STROKE BARON Data Diamond
AMON AMARTH, CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, FROZEN SOUL In Anaheim, CA With Photos!



HOME | MAGAZINE | VIDS | STORE | HELP/POLICIES

©2024 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News