Whether you’re a fan of old school heavy metal, modern metalcore, something more progressive, evil, or anything in between, we can all agree that metal is a genre born from passion and dedication. Bands like Born of Ire perfectly exemplify these ideals. Comprised of Calum Lewis on the vocals, guitar, and bass and Duda on the drums, Born of Ire’s self-titled debut was born out of blood, sweat, and the love of metal over a nine-year period. Fortunately, their hard-work has paid off in spades.
Track 2, “No Evil,” serves as a microcosm of Born of Ire’s sound – a crushing fusion of thrashing guitar riffs, soaring vocals, and soulful soloing, all over dynamic drums and rhythm sections. It sounds like if Cliff Burton-era Metallica and pre-lawsuit Queensryche were thrown into a blender being operated by Mike Portnoy. The energy that the tune ends with carries over nicely into track 3, “Devil to Pay in the Badlands,” which isn’t as frenetic as its predecessor but still delivers all the hallmarks of a great classic-styled heavy metal song. The intro to track 4, “Liar’s Rhythm,” showcases Lewis’ acoustic chops before going into a deliciously dissonant riff. His ability to manipulate the tempo of the riff to control the flow of the song is extremely impressive. The rest of the album showcases plenty of range and virtuoso-level control of the instruments before ending on a pair of blistering thrashers – “InFiction” and “Live On.”
Overall, Born of Ire’s debut release serves as both a throwback to a time when thrash and progressive metal reigned supreme, as well as an example of just how far hard work and passion can carry a project. My only critique for future releases might be to work on the quality of the mix – the album seems to suffer a bit from “…And Justice for All” syndrome throughout, with the bass frequencies being a bit muted, and the clean guitar interludes being louder in volume than their distorted counterparts. Despite that, this is a powerhouse record that fans of classic metal deserve to hear.
Overall Musicianship – 9 out of 10 (virtuoso-levels of control of the instruments, tempo, and song dynamics keep the listener on their toes throughout)
Vocal Style – 8 out of 10 (while not as strong as his guitar and bass work, Lewis’ vocal performance gets the job done and gives these songs plenty of power)
Overall Song Composition – 9 out of 10 (mind-bending variety throughout, yet consistent in quality)
Originality – 7 out of 10 (while it’s easy to pinpoint which bands these guys are inspired by, their sound is refreshing in today’s sea of modern metal bands)