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Firstly, World Fire Brigade must surely be strong contenders for having one of the most ridiculous band names ever. I mean, a band should be metaphorically setting the world on fire, not in possession of a moniker that implies they travel around the globe putting fires out. However, with this new band's trio of members billed on the press sheet as selling more than ten million records with previous ventures - Brett Scallions (of Fuel fame...fuel, there's that link to fire again) on vocals, guitar and bass, Sean Danielsen (from Smile Empty Soul) on guitar and vocals and Eddie Wohl (whose production credits include Anthrax, Ill Nino and Dry Kill Logic) on keyboards - let's not judge a band by its name just yet. A few spins of this disc and I can only conclude that work will be sparse with the profession implicit in that ill-chosen name as they certainly won't be setting the world on fire with this debut offering. Having said that, while not innovative in any way, they do manage to strike a neat balance between down-tuned, bass-biased, heavy sonics and sing-along, melody-infused verses and choruses. It's where radio-friendly AOR meets a heavier, more metal groove head on. It's nothing new as the likes of Creed and Staind trod that path years back but World Fire Brigade are very convincing in the execution of their material, complete with a nicely polished production and mix. Interestingly, the three men at the core of this new outfit (Ken Schalk from Candiria and Fuel joins them as session drummer) originally collaborated as merely a writing team with a view to obtaining some sort of licensing deal but were so pleased with the results that they opted to record the compositions themselves. Possibly a wise move as the execution is generally flawless throughout and the passion they have for their own writing shines through. It's all good but not great. Ultimately, songs such as these with instant commercial appeal never stand the test of time and, as such, the longevity of 'Spreading My Wings' will perhaps be ephemeral. For a quick hit of a likeable AOR/metal fusion it does the job although I predict it's not an album I'll be re-visiting much.
Review by Mark Holmes
1st Oct 2012
1) The End of Silence
2) Spreading My Wings
3) All You Know; 4) Weight of the World
5) Shell of Me; 6) Fly
7) Don't Walk Away
8) Take Me Away; 9) Shot Down
10) All My Demands
11) The Beginning of Madness
12) Never Saw the Wall
13) Free and Sane
14) One
"...work will be sparse with the profession implicit in that ill-chosen name as they certainly won't be setting the world on fire with this debut offering."