“Double Diamond” is Firebird’s 6th album in their eleven-year career. During this time they have had nine different bassists and four drummers, so it is amazing that they have managed to stay so prolific throughout all the upheavals that so may changes must incur. With current core line up of former Carcass and Napalm Death guitarist Bill Steer (vocals / guitar), Spiritual Beggars‘ Ludwig Witt (drums) and latest addition, former The Black Hand and Ozric Tentacles‘ Greyum May (bass).
The album opens with ‘Soul Saviour’ and sets out the albums intents right from the off. A song full of riffs and hooks that stick in your head and second time round seem like old friends.
‘Ruined’ is a little reminder of how good this band are, as the intro riff could have easily come from ‘Swansong’ era Carcass, but is equally at home here. With his, Witt and May’s musical past it is no wonder that different styles appear on this album, but all of them fit together well and nothing seems out of place.
The pace slows a little with songs such as ‘Bright Lights’ where both Ludwig Witt and Bill Steer get a chance to let loose, and the gentle ‘Farewell’ shows Bill Steer‘s voice to excellent effect, and – temporarily at least – the album settles down. ‘Arabesque’ is another slower moment on “Double Diamond” and one that is markedly different to the rest of the album. Some Eastern influenced melody is also another great addition to an album which never stops impressing.
‘For Crying Our Loud’ and ‘A Wing & A Prayer’ are big rock tunes that were destined for the live shows. ‘Pound Of Flesh’ brings in the rock staple cowbell and is another song where you can find reminders of other bands, but nowhere is it anything other than an influence. This is definitely a band with their own identity.
‘Lose Your Delusions’ is an upbeat take on egotism gone wrong. Album closer ‘Pantomime’ slowly builds from an acoustic start to finish with some trademark Steer guitar solos. An amazing finale to a stunning album.
An amazing collection of riffs and hooks, memorable songs, and Bill Steer‘s vocals have an air of The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson about them. Firebird should be huge, and maybe this is the album to take them to the next level. This is 35 minutes of pretty much flawless blues-rock. The only problem is that at 35 minutes, it’s a little too short. This could be me being greedy, but it does mean it holds up to many plays. Sometimes its difficult to imagine Firebird as a three piece, such is the full sound of “Double Diamond”. This doesn’t sound like an homage to past times, it wouldn’t be out of place from any time during hard rock’s heyday from the 70’s through the early 90’s right up to today. It really is that good!