PHOENIX IN FLAMES
Released on February 24, 2017 (Independent)
I wondered which Phoenix In Flames that I would get on the band’s first full-length studio album. Would it be the ’70s classic rock band as exhibited on the group’s debut EP Rise From The Ashes with the killer epic song “Sunday Hero”? Or would it be the heavy blues based group with growly vocals on the band’s follow up EP Howling For Power, which I didn’t like? Or perhaps the band might adopt a whole new sound in its apparent never ending quest for its identity?
As it turns out, French Canadian rockers Phoenix In Flames adopt a new musical direction once again this time experimenting at times with various instrumentation and throwing some different twists into their songs. For instance, a song such as “The Legend Of Kain” has some classical music pieces to it while switching to rock n’ roll at times. I think the band tried to give the track an epic feel with the classical stuff. “Interlude” provides a Spanish like flamingo guitar solo, which feels kind of out of place in the middle of the album. These types of songs see Phoenix In Flames trying too hard to create something special.
Where Phoenix In Flames are at their best is when they stick to playing rock n’ roll such as on “Steering The Wreck” (with the intro drumming sounding like Twisted Sister‘s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”) with its cool guitar riff intro; “Freedom Has It’s Cost” where singer Cornelius Black is actually singing quite well at times; and, “The Source Of The Vice” which has a very enjoyable pre-chorus portion and some cool “hey hey” parts which would translate well live. I also enjoy “The Storm” which has a cool intro guitar part and sounds like Twisted Sister‘s “Street Justice” with its verses. The closing song “Sad No More” is different than the rest of the tracks but works quite well. I am not particularly fond of when singer Cornelius Black sings along with the music though such as “The Tour Blues” similar to what Ozzy Osbourne often did in Black Sabbath and most notably on “Iron Man.”
Overall, Phoenix In Flames‘ Lookout! took me a while to warm up to. In fact, I couldn’t get through the album on my first listen but upon revisiting it a few weeks later, I have come to enjoy it quite a bit. Is it the best album of 2017? Definitely not but it’s an album that is growing on me every time I listen to it. I think part of the reason for that is Phoenix In Flames offer a lot of variety on their songs so it’s hard to digest the whole nuances of the record on the first listen.
01. The Source Of The Vice
02. The Storm
03. Rising Down
04. A Beautiful Nightmare
05. The Legend Of Kain
07. Steering The Wreck
09. Freedom Has It’s Cost
10. The Tour Blues
11. Sad No More
Cornelius Black – lead and background vocals, bass, narration (5)
Paul Black – rhythm and lead guitars, background vocals
Marty Legend – drums, cowbell, vibraslap, tambourine, background vocals
Japps – lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, background vocals
Christelle Chartray – strings (5)
Francis Perron – additional percussions
Tony Rust – additional vocals (10)
Justyn Vynn – additional guitar (8)
Produced by Francis Perron and Phoenix In Flames
Recorded and mixed by Francis Perron
Mastering by Pierre Rémillard
Additional recording by Cornelius Black
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, May 2017
Phoenix In Flames‘ “The Source Of Vices” song:
New single by hard rock/heavy metal band Phoenix in Flames.