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After having just reviewed Haken's sublime new prog rock/metal album 'The Mountain', I was very interested to see that The Safety Fire and their sophomore album, 'Mouth Of Swords', was next in my review pile. Also described as prog metal, I've heard a fair bit of positive feedback about this lot so, suitably intrigued, I pressed play. This is where genre tags let you down though because The Safety Fire couldn't be any more different from Haken. This is modern crossover prog, full of math rock, a hint of that dreadful word 'djent'. And I'm afraid to say that 'Mouth Of Swords is not something I'll be coming back to very often. Before you all cry foul, this has absolutely nothing to do with it, or the band, being bad though. The Safety Fire are a young and extremely talented bunch of musicians, they have released what will be seen as a very good album within their chosen genre and I'm sure their fans, and many others, will lap up the nine songs on offer here. However, it is just not a style of music that personally floats my boat, but I'm certainly not going to slag them off because it doesn't suit me.

If you want a comparison then I suppose hints of Mastodon, 30 Seconds To Mars and Periphery come to mind. 'Mouth Of Swords' is full of weird time signatures and very unusual, discordant, guitar melodies courtesy of main writer and guitarist Derya 'Dez' Nagle. There are multiple sections to each song with a mix of clean and harsh vocals from singer Sean McWeeney, The rhythm section of bassist Lori Peri and drummer Calvin Smith is tight but all over the place and second guitarist Joaquin Ardiles provides even more variation. Now, while all of that is going to be wonderful for many of you it leaves me unable to connect with the music properly. Personally, I think there is far too much going on within each song, making it unmemorable once the album has finished. There is no chance to breathe and take stock which is a shame because when the band do take a brief, slightly more restrained approach as they do in parts of 'Glass Crush', 'Beware The Leopard (Jagwar)' and closing track 'Old Souls' it all works so much better. If I hit my cymbals as regularly as Smith does they would all be damaged very quickly. McWeeney's harsh vocals do not sit that comfortably with me either, especially when put together with those odd melodies. Occasionally it works but I do prefer his clean voice.

This is all just down to personal preference. Unlike some bands, who really aren't particularly good, The Safety Fire have bundles of ideas and execute them with ease, they are definitely progressive in their approach and they do have a very bright future. But, for me to get more enjoyment from their music, they need to focus on that oft used quote: “sometimes less is more”.
Inside Out
Review by Rick Tilley
2nd Sept 2013
1) Mouth of Swords
2) Glass Crush
3) Yellowism
4) Beware the Leopard (Jagwar)
5) Red Hatchet
6) Wise Hands
7) The Ghosts that Wait for Spring
8) I am Time, the Destroyer
9) Old Souls
"...full of weird time signatures and very unusual, discordant, guitar melodies..."