I was really pleased to see Fahran's second album, 'Chasing Hours', in my review pile this month. They are a band I've followed and watched develop over the last couple of years so, with much anticipation, I inserted the CD to see what has been delivered and I once again have to say that I'm being totally spoilt for choice in 2014. Fahran released their self titled debut album 2012 to widespread acclaim and they went on to support I AM I & Heaven's Basement as well as playing Bloodstock and Download Festivals. No mean feat for such a new band.
However, in 2013 they lost their vocalist and bass player so 'Chasing Hours' is the first output from the new lineup and they have upped the ante considerably. Often compared to bands such as Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge and Shinedown, Fahran are a hard and heavy melodic rock beast and those comparisons, especially Shinedown, might put a few people off from listening to them. I actually like Shinedown but Fahran are heavier, catchier and are from the Midlands, UK. For such a young band they are way beyond their years when it comes to song writing skills and musical talent. They prove, once and for all, that the UK can produce that American sound perfectly.
'Chasing Hours' was funded on Pledge Music and shows that Fahran have a very dedicated fanbase. Listening to this it's clear to understand why. In fact, you only have to look at the packaging and artwork to see they want to provide high quality, but even without that, nearly all the thirteen songs contained here have success written all over them. New vocalist Matt Black is an absolute find and has a monster set of pipes, perfectly suited to this style of music. It's such a pleasure to actually hear someone singing and doing it damn well. Likewise, new bassist Josh Ballantyne thunders like his life depends on it and has developed a superb relationship with drummer JR Windsor. What really stands out here though is the quality of the guitar work from Jake Graham and Chris Byrne. The riffs are big, the choruses are bigger and the soloing is huge.
To put some icing on a delicious cake, the production is absolutely colossal and to see that Jake and Chris have done it themselves is nigh on incredible. 'Take This City Alive', 'I Heard A Joke Once', 'Cased In Steel', 'You Could Be Mine', 'Are We Free' and 'Back To Me' are songs, although not necessarily original, completely out of the top drawer. I've seen that some think it's criminal Fahran aren't signed to a decent record label. That's true, but labels are all but redundant these days, quite happy to trawl out another set of Zeppelin re-masters but totally fail to recognise fabulous new talent when it smacks them in the face. Being totally picky 'Chasing Hours' is probably one or two tracks too long but, other than that, I have nothing but admiration for what the band have achieved and If they are half as good live as they are on this album then I cannot wait to see them at the Birmingham Headbangers Balls gig in December.
Review by Rick Tilley
11th August 2014
1) Long Gone; 2) Take This City Alive
3) A Thousand Nights
4) I Heard a Joke Once
5) Chasing Hours; 6) Cased in Steel
7) You Could Be Mine
8) Some Kind of Family
9) Are We Free
10) Back to Me
12) Black Mirror
13) Storms We Ride
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"For such a young band they are way beyond their years when it comes to song writing skills and musical talent."