Spirits Of Fire is a hard rock/heavy metal band formed in 2017. They definitely qualify as a supergroup consisting of four incredibly talented and prolific musicians. Pre-dating the pandemic, they formed prior to touring grinding to a halt. This album was recorded while much of the world was still actively preventing touring. Tons of supergroups groups were created, but this one is special. Why are they special? Google the individuals and see why. This is a who’s who of the metal scene.
- Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
- Mark Zonder – Drums
- Chris Caffery – Guitars, Backing Vocals
- Fabio Lione – Vocals
Released February 18, 2022, via Frontiers Records, Embrace The Unknown is the second full-length record from Spirits Of Fire and the first to feature the inimitable Fabio Lione. With 12 tracks and over an hour of killer music, this is a lesson in riff-ology, crushing rhythms, and soaring vocals. No part of this record lacks power, depth, and grandeur. These are seasoned veterans who know how to craft a song and showcase their collective talents over and over again on this disc.
- A Second Chance
- Wildest Dreams
- Into the Mirror
- . Embrace the Unknown
- My Confession
- Sea of Change
- Shapes of a Fragile Mind
- Hearts in the Sand
- House of Pain
- Remember My Name
- Out in the Rain
The album starts with a killer riff on the track “A Second Chance.” There will be no looking back from here on. The melodic goodness will just keep on rocking. The difference on this record is the addition of Fabio Lione, vocalist extraordinaire. This takes the vocals into more of a power metal direction while the rhythms still go from power to progressive to thrash. The guitars are influenced by heavy, prog, and thrash metals. Fans of metal alloys will be thrilled as they get farther into this record.
One of the singles from the album is “Into The Mirror.” This is metal, through and through. Fabio’s vocals are gritty and distorted at times, powerful and soaring at others. The riff is crushing, the lead work on point. The rhythm is fantastic, going from galloping to melodic and back. This is a song that delivers power and precision from start to finish.
“Sea Of Change” is this disc’s melodic Power metal song. The guitar intro is reminiscent of 80s power ballads. The rhythm comes in low and slow, hanging out and waiting for those dark vocals to join. The pick-up as the vocals go from deep to pure power tones is incredibly well-paced. That build-up to and through the chorus drew me in and really captured my attention. I love a song that can shift that hard and maintain cohesiveness. The lead work through the hook, moving into the solo, is classic metal, especially when it goes into the bridge and through a second solo. Excellent songwriting, better than many bands out there today.
Another heavy song is “House Of Pain,” a hard-driving tune with a really cool riff. The rhythm is so solid on this song. The layered vocals give the song a bit of a richer tone. The solo is well-paced, not going over the top. While I love a bit of masterful shredding, this song did well with a short, melodic solo delivered at just the right speed. This is another killer tune with a great beat that you can really headbang to. Towards the end, we get layered vocals that have both clean singing and spoken word overlapped. This is another facet of the band that really resonates with me. They are varied in their talents, including the compositional skills of all band members.
The closing track, “Out In The Rain,” is the one that really hits me between the eyes. This is my favorite song, bar none, on this disc. The ballad-like intro that has a dramatic kick to the chorus is epic. Fabio’s vocals through that chorus are delicious. The sheer power he displays is absolutely phenomenal. The grit, coupled with the power, is something few singers can pull off, yet he makes it sound easy. The keys, coupled with the rhythm, really spice up the tune. The variations from verse to chorus, the builds, and drops all work in such beautiful synchronicity. This is one of my top five songs for 2022.
The guitars often echo the longing in Fabio’s voice on some notes. It is awe-inspiring how well Chris and Fabio connect with each other on the entire album, but especially on this track. The rhythm is again excellent. Steve and Mark are always right where they need to be at any given moment. They fit the songs with almost unmatched precision. The tones, the timbre of Fabio’s voice, the interaction of the instruments with each other, and the vocals are a thing of beauty.
Embrace The Unknown is a sophomore album that outshines the debut, and that is saying something because the eponymous debut release is outstanding. This is the second go-round for these songwriters, and they are obviously more in tune with each other’s abilities on this record. They work together in ways that defy logic when you consider how different all their paths have been through the metal scene. Everything just comes together on this disc.
Spirits Of Fire needs to go on tour and blaze a path across the stages of the world. This is the kind of music that translates to killer live shows. The question is, how many other commitments do all these phenomenal musicians have to other projects. They are all busy and highly sought after. Could we be lucky enough to have a short tour in the United States? Could it hit the Northeast? Dare I dream? This would definitely be one of the shows of the year. Whether they tour or not, I really do hope they put out a third record. This is truly a supergroup.
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.60