Since 2010 when First Signal first landed, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to every one of their albums but I would say that this latest one ‘Face Your Fears’ is perhaps the heaviest of them all.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: First Signal
ALBUM: Face Your Fears
LABEL: Frontiers SRL
SERIAL: FRCD 1299
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada, Italy
LINEUP: Harry Hess – vocals * Marco Pastorino – guitar * Michele Guaitoli – bass, additional guitar * Marco Andreetto – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Unbreakable * 02 Situation Critical * 03 Shoot The Bullet * 04 Always Be There * 05 Dominoes * 06 Rain For Your Roses * 07 Face Your Fears * 08 Never Gonna Let You Go * 09 Not This Time * 10 In The Name Of Love * 11 Never Be Silenced
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Since 2010 when First Signal first landed, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to every one of their albums but I would say that this latest one ‘Face Your Fears’ is perhaps the heaviest of them all. I had read some of the Internet opinionated blurb before the album actually landed, and I wasn’t convinced of the opinions that were being offered, but there is safety in numbers when it comes to mass consensus and opinion I suppose.
First Signal have always kept it to the melodic rock side of the boulevard as opposed to Harry Hess’ day job with Harem Scarem which veers toward an edgier modern rock pathway. The last two FS albums were very good, but here, the Swedish connection with Daniel Flores, Michael Palace and Johan Niemann (who have all made regular appearances on FS previous albums) has made way for an untried Italian combination of musicians that I’ve not heard of before. A bit risky, so how does it sound?
As mentioned, the material here is on the heavier side of melodic rock. Is there a direction change going on here? It does appear that keyboards do not play much of a role on this album, as it’s very guitar centric, powerful and upfront. This could go one of two ways.
‘Unbreakable’ is the first cab off the rank. A power anthem for the masses, and in this crazy era of 2023, more people should be taking this advice to heart. It doesn’t get more desperate than the themes resonating on ‘Situation Critical’. Both the lyrics and music are on a par. The metronome is given a workout on the furious ‘Shoot The Bullet’. Harry and the boys are kicking this one out of the park. Definitely these first three tracks are very good.
Harry is powering through the vocals on ‘Always Be There’. The song comes across as a power ballad at face value, but ends up being quite over powering. ‘Dominoes’ is a rocker played in relentless fashion, but the brakes are soon applied on ‘Rain For Your Roses’, which is not quite in ballad territory due to the harder delivery on top of mellow lyrics. The guitar solo was a bit naff.
‘Face Your Fears’ is the title track, and like some of the previous tracks is on the harder side but vocally this was a tough listen. ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’ is a return to an older version of First Signal which is far more appealing. It’s similar to Def Leppard in places. So too ‘Not This Time’ which is at the lighter end of the scale for a rocker. ‘In The Name Of Love’ is a ballad but it’s spoiled by the overwrought and oversung vocal. Not a lot of subtlety going on here.
Of all the First Signal albums this is the one that least appeals to me. It started out great with the first three tracks but from that point onwards I found it to be quite a difficult listen. In parts it was too heavy to be classified as melodic hard rock, sitting closer to melodic metal instead. I’m doubtful that Harry and First Signal wanted to lean too far in that heavier direction, but that’s how it ended up.
The guitar solos though technically adept weren’t very interesting, lacking inspiration and feel/soul. Harry’s voice is noticeably tougher and on the raw side. Unfortunately it didn’t ring any bells for me. And that is how I’ll remember this album sorry to say.
Never Gonna Let You Go
Shoot The Bullet