Ta-da: Italy's stoner scene is rife with bands, but hardly any of them can claim to be paragons of originality. This goes for Turin's Firelord as well, but this does not imply that they are unlistenable. In fact, the music on their debut is a lot of fun thanks to the no-frills trio approach, albeit frontman Mario overdubbed his guitar for his solos ... yes, he's actually not afraid of the higher registers on his fretboard, which the vast majority of his colleagues within the genre seem to be.
Another plus of "Among The Snakes" is the energy displayed throughout: Most songs are uptempo, such as the first two "Man Of Mayhem" and "Black Kommander", yet when Firelord slow down the pace, they do not run danger of boring the listener, as they appear to know when it's time to stomp on the pedal again. The eleven-minute "The Ghost Of Eymerich", which stands at the centre of the record, attests to this songwriting ability, while frankly speaking, Mario's voice fails to impress with its uniformly hoarse snarl. It keeps sounding a tad distorted and tends to disappear into the background as just another instrument come halftime.
From the instrumental side of things though, the stronger tracks are even to be found at the back: "Werewolf" shows of some subtle twin harmonies, and closer "Among The Snakes II" is the dust-kicker of the album with some of the most powerful passages you will hear. All in all, this is conventional fare, but not to a degree that it leaves you craving for the real deal. Firelord deliver the obligatory programm (warts and all ... plus an okay cover of "Children Of The Grave") and no freestyle - which in itself can be a commendable characteristic in times of mindless crossover.
words by Andreas Schiffmann