Phoenix Titan – 'Avatar Of Fire' Album Review
1. Torment Of Vanity
2. Metal Shark
4. Ride For Vengeance
5. Will I Ever Find My Peace?
6. Napalm Phoenix
8. The Game
9. Chosen One
This album starts by smashing you in the face with a riff, which is always the absolute best way for an album to start. “Torment Of Vanity” is a song that starts by sounding like a lost Iron Maiden riff, and then slams you into Phoenix Titan’s very welcome style of Metal – something that sounds simultaneously like the Metal I grew up listening to thirty years ago, but also sounding new and exciting at the same time.
And then the second song is called “Metal Shark”. Yes that’s right, it’s a song about a Metal Shark. And I bloody love it! It’s ridiculous in the best possible way, which is how I like some of my Metal to be. Ridiculous, well made and heavy.
Production-wise, this doesn’t sound like a debut album recorded by a band populated by previously unknown musicians – it sounds really well made, which I really like. They’ve also taken a sensible route and released a short album (the sort of length albums used to be thirty years ago) – this is forty minutes and nine tracks of rifftastic Metal. And again, I agree with this approach wholeheartedly.
But how do the songs stack up? The short answer – pretty damn well. “Torment Of Vanity” is an absolute belter of an opener, and I’ve already mentioned the ridiculousness of “Metal Shark”. “Ride For Vengeance” is a singalong anthem waiting to be sung along with by a giant crowd, and “Will I Ever Find My Peace?” is a weird mishmash of things that works way better than it has any right to.
And the album keeps serving up good stuff from there onwards. “Napalm Phoenix” and “In(Sanity)” are both great tracks and “Chosen One” is a strong end to a very strong album.
To be honest, there’s barely a weak link here – I’m not the biggest fan of “Accused” or “The Game”, but I wouldn’t say either of them causes the album to be any worse for their inclusion, they are just not my favourites.
As a reviewer, it can be tough to rate an album. You’re trying to apply objective criticism to something that comes down to personal taste, while trying to keep it relatively grounded next to other albums you have reviewed before. But sometimes you get an album that you just know is an absolute classic five-star album, and this is one.
This album has brilliant performances, amazing production and incredibly strong songs – but none of that would matter if not for the energy. This relatively unknown band have provided an album that is powered by sheer raw determination and energy, that bleeds through from every note played. I highly recommend this album to any Metal-lovers out there. It’s forty minutes of fun, and doesn’t everyone deserve that once in a while?
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Review - Michael Braunton