FIREHOUSE – Firehouse [Japan Edition remastered +4]
One of you, fellow readers, asked for the first three FIREHOUSE albums remastered in its last Japanese Edition including bonus tracks. So here we go with the awesome self-titled debut (which in Japan appeared with different artwork) plus 4 extras.
Firehouse’s recipe wasn’t complicated: typical late ’80s hard rock stylistically similar to Bon Jovi or Winger, with fluffed up looks but far from the over-the-top makeup usage of Poison or Mötley Crüe. All in all, a slightly rugged, but still heart-throbbish hair metal band.
In short, not overtly glammy, yet with plenty of commercial appeal.
However, a few surprises were contained within the full-length itself. The first and most blatant of them was lead singer C.J. Snare. His vocal register is unique and instantly recognizable, helping Firehouse a clear-cut identity they may not have had otherwise. He also has some clear chops, as he is unafraid to show at the beginning of ‘Overnight Sensation’ or the end of ‘Oughta Be a Law’.
Guitarist Bill Leverty adds to this advantage, being somewhat more prone to shredding than others in his genre. At times, his ‘techy’ solos flirt with melodic “virtuoso” metal, but his solid, pounding riffs ground the band within the realm of midtempo hard rock.
As noted, the overall sound is not dissimilar from that of other bands from the period; however, the songwriting quality is undeniably high, to the point where there is hardly a weak song among these 13 tracks.
However, there is no denying that this is the kind of album where the standouts jump at you and grab you by the throat. In this case, there are five of them, and each will ingrain itself in your head within the first couple of listens.
The first one appears right at the outset of the album, with the fabulous ‘Rock On The Radio’. From the weird-ass tribal beginning (props for not calling it an Intro) right through to the huge chorus and stomping rhythm, this is one heck of a rock’n’roll track sure to blow the roof off of any room it is played in.
Matching it blow by blow is our requisite power ballad, ‘Love Of a Lifetime’. To call this track awesome would be an understatement; it is, purely and simply, one of the best hard rock ballads I have ever heard. Leverty’s solo is understated and elegant, and Snare has a genuinely rousing performance, all backed by a solid slow beat.
Rounding up the power trio of songs is ‘Shake And Tumble’. Stylistically very similar to Rock On The Radio, this track is just as infectious, and even though it doesn’t feature much by way of lyrics, it’s still absolutely irresistible. Try not to fist-pump along to this song; if you manage, you’re a better man then me.
The fourth standout for me, and the “odd-man-out” of the group, is ‘Lovers’ Lane’. With its boogie-riffic rhythm and spewed-out words from Snare, it’s an instantly catchy song that proves Firehouse fare well in a slightly faster rhythm, too.
Oh, and there’s ‘All She Wrote’, the ‘melodic rock’ track on the record and one of the best from the era.
Firehouse delivered an immensely pleasurable debut opus, which launched a deservedly respectable career which lasts to this day. They may never have lived up to the strength of this album, but they staked their claim as one of the greatest bands in the later period of glamourized hard rock – which is far from a bad achievement for a band debuting in 1990.
The band won the American Music Award for Best New Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Band, Metal Edge Magazine’s Best New Band, Young Guitar Magazine’s Best Newcomer, and Music Life Magazine’s reader’s pop poll Best Newcomer of the Year.
This first album sold over two million copies in the United States only, and was certified double platinum by the RIAA.
“Firehouse” was one of the best albums appeared in 1990, and that was a superb year in terms of releases. This Japanese remaster sounds million bucks and you have 4 excellent bonus tracks.
A Must Have
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayroxx
Sony Music Japan ~ EICP-978
『 Ｆ Ｉ Ｒ Ｅ Ｈ Ｏ Ｕ Ｓ Ｅ 』
01 – Rock On The Radio
02 – All She Wrote
03 – Shake & Tumble
04 – Don’t Treat Me Bad
05 – Oughta Be A Law
06 – Lover’s Lane
07 – Home Is Where The Heart Is
08 – Don’t Walk Away
09 – Seasons Of Change
10 – Overnight Sensation
11 – Love Of A Lifetime
12 – Helpless
JAPAN BONUS TRACKS;
13 – Overnight Sensation (Live)
14 – All She Wrote (Live)
15 – Home Is Where the Heart Is (Live)
16 – Don’t Walk Away (Live)
C.J. Snare – lead vocals, keyboards
Bill Leverty – guitars, backing vocals
Perry Richardson – bass, backing vocals
Michael Foster – drums, percussion, backing vocals
BUY IT !