Firebird’s “Double Diamond” album has been in the can now for the best part of a year, and has already seen a Japanese release do brisk business, but for some reason the rest of the world has stalled in getting to hear the latest from Bill Steer’s retro rocking mob. No wonder then that the band have taken matters into their own hands and opted to release this extremely limited edition 7″ single themselves consisting of two exclusive tracks.
Vinyl is probably the logical option for Firebird’s brand of old school bluesy riff rock and with this tasty little package there are no frills, just music. Each disc lands in a plain white sleeve adorned with just the band’s logo and the track listing. Even the labels are plain white with the “A” side signed and hand numbered by Steer…no text. This is as stripped down as it gets!!!
The “A” side, “Bird on a Wire” is a non album track that showcases Firebird’s move towards a heavier style. The bluesy 70’s vibe is still in place but has been given a harder edged NWOBH sense of aggression. In the same way as the original wave of NWOBHM bands took their inspiration from the hard rock bands of the 70’s, Firebird seem to be following a similar timeline. The guitar possess a touch more fire than before and Steer’s vocals have more snarl and bite to them than his previously more laid back approach. This certainly sounds like a more confident Steer than we have heard on previous releases. The lead playing here is also exemplary. Fans of Carcass may recognise some of Steer’s older traits within his soloing as he steps out of the blues constraints of previous albums and allows some of his neo-classical touches to resurface.
This is by no means a one man band however. Ludwig Witt has long been one of my favourite drummers since the days of the first Spiritual Beggars album. Few modern drummers are able to nail that retro swing and groove that John Bonham made his own but Witt comes close and here he shows he can out rock most of his contemporaries. New bassist Grayum May also slips into place with seamless ease as though he’s been greased up with goose fat to lend some tasty growl to the bottom end.
Flip this bad boy over and Firebird hit us with a real clue as to where their heads are right now as they cover Tank’s “Set Your Back On Fire”. I will admit to not being too familiar with Tank…a dusty copy of “This Means War” lurks somewhere at the bottom of my record collection having been dismissed as little more than a Motorhead clone. So not having heard the original and not having any frame of comparison it remains to be said that Firebird succeed in nailing the track as if it were one of their own. Without knowing this is a cover Firebird hit it as if it had flowed from the same pen as the flip side of this release sharing the millimetre tight riffing, tasty solos, edgy vocals and overall power of the “A” side.
Now, here comes the rub. This release is not available in the shops so not only is it strictly limited in quantity, it’s also a bastard to get hold of!!! You’re going to have to go and see the band next time they play near you and hope they haven’t run out of this little beauty!!!
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall