On the ever constant search for new music, I found this next band because Last.fm suggested I might like them (They were right). I found this band last year, but cannot get enough of their latest album. Considered a band on the rise in their scene, I feel it is my duty to share their music to my readers, further pushing them closer to superstar status. Landing on the harder side of my musical spectrum, The Safety Fire has an eclectic sound that brings me comfort knowing that the metal genre is heading in the right direction.
Residing in the UK, The Safety Fire is Sean McWeeney on vocals, Joaquin Ardiles on guitar, Lori Peri on bass guitar, Calvin Smith on drums, and Derya “Dez” Nagle on guitar, who further produced their latest album. Falling between progressive metal and mathcore, this band uses their raw power in an attempt to break your speakers with blaring drum beats and deep bass lines. In 2013, The Safety Fire created what I believe is their best album in “Mouth of Swords,” an album filled with passion and precision.
Upon listening to “Mouth of Swords,” the listener immediately feels the kick in the chest from the band’s bassy sound. As Peri slaps the bass and Ardiles/Nagle compile dual distorted guitar rhythms in the opening title track, I feel such great satisfaction knowing what’s in store for this 45 minute album. My favorite riff that I can’t stop repeating is in the song “Yellowism,” with a post-chorus and outro that utilize quick palm muted notes from Peri, Ardiles, and Nagle. The heaviness continues in the songs “The Ghosts That Wait For Spring” and “Beware the Leopard (Jagwar),” which includes guest vocals from Between the Buried and Me’s Tommy Giles. I can just imagine seeing this band live and feeling the pressure against my chest from Smith’s bass pedal (I love that feeling). The album carries this tune throughout, but is not restricted to that distorted sound alone. There are many moments of clean guitar rhythms, especially in the songs “Red Hatchet” and “Wise Hands,” and acts as a much needed change of pace for an album that is cranked to 11 for a majority of its length. These softer songs remind me of beats generated from bands like This Town Needs Guns and Karnivool, two bands that I highly admire for their experimental and newer progressive sounds.
Using a technique that is found in bands like Miroist and TesseracT, I love the constant time signature changes mixed with that classic djent sound on the rhythm guitar. In the meantime, the drummer is forced to bring everything together with a stable drumbeat. I love hearing the quickly inserted hits on the cymbals and high hat to match the guitar’s pace. I always feel bad for drummers in mathcore and djent bands, who constantly take a beating on their body as they incorporate all the pieces of their setup. This is most evident in “Mouth of Swords'” last song “Old Souls,” which I feel contains the most time signature changes, and contains the drums at its finest. Props to Smith for tying everything together and preventing this album from being one giant polyrhythmic mess.
When I play The Safety Fire, I most look forward to hearing McWeeney’s vocals and lyrics. Using such abstract and dark lyrics, I love listening to his voice that easily reminds me of ex-Tides of Man singer Tilian Pearson. Switching between clean and dirty vocals, “Mouth of Swords” is a roller coaster of emotion that won’t let off until the album’s end. McWeeney has such incredible range, and can hit those sharp notes better than many progressive metal singers. Much of the album’s lyrics are bizarre, considering the time it takes for me to fully understand. My favorite lyric comes from the album’s single “Glass Crush”:
“An atom bomb of energy / In a fistful of sand / An eternal senseless mortal conflict / In a verse of words / For now we see through the glass darkly” (source)
If you’re into progressive metal and djent bands like Between the Buried and Me, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, and the Contortionist, I highly recommend The Safety Fire’s “Mouth of Swords.” If you enjoyed this album, please check out their other album “Grind the Ocean,” an album I believe is even harder than this one. You can also support this band by following them on Twitter and Facebook, although they have recently revealed that they are no longer together. I guess I’ll just keep on listening to this amazing album.