If you’re into Finnish adult-oriented rock, you must certainly know of BROTHER FIRETRIBE, a gem in the AOR scene. Fronted by the charismatic Pekka Heino, their latest album, “Feel the Burn,” is released on September 18th, 2020, as follow-up to 2007’s “Sunbound.” If you, like us, were looking for a brief change-up from heavy metal this fall, this was an album to visit.
There’s something beautifully authentic about the sound that BROTHER FIRETRIBE produces. From upbeat opening anthem “I Salute You” through to festival killer “Rock in the City,” BFT prove that they know how to write energetic and organic AOR that just leaves the listener feeling good. Driven by the emotions that are stirred up through love and romance, this album ticks every box necessary, with great singalong choruses in tracks like “Arianne,” “Chariot of Fire,” and “Ticking Away,” to emotional ballads like “Love is a Lie” that manages to avoid sounding generic or cheesy like many (most?) other ballads.
Tomppa Nikulainen‘s keyboard sound is a central feature of this album’s sound, with songs like “I Salute You” and “Chariot of Fire” benefiting from their energy, it’s worth drawing attention to Heino‘s vocals in songs like the somewhat darker, appropriately night-like “Night Drive” or the catchy single “Bring on the Rain,” where his voice soars, full of passion in the former or dips deeper down in the latter. The guitars help keep the rhythms smooth and full-bodied, despite the departure of founding member Emppu Vuorinen, who recently left the band due to his busy schedule with NIGHTWISH. Vuorinen can be heard on a few tracks, such as the single “Bring On the Rain,” where he does a laid-back solo. His replacement, Roope Riihijärvi, does a great job in his place, with nice solos in songs like “Chariot of Fire” and the opening riffing in penultimate “Candle in the Window.”
“Love is a Lie” is a slower track, though no less powerful with its passionate vocals and beautiful keyboard melodies, as well as its very dynamic and emotional progression – an excellent future live track. One might expect “Battle Ground” to be a hard-hitting powerhouse, but it is rather a more mellow piece, though with power again in its dynamics. The album then closes up with “Rock in the City,” which is pure fun in musical form, bringing all of the band’s best elements together into one hard-hitting finale.
While I can’t say I’ve personally listened to a lot of BROTHER FIRETRIBE, this album was a lot of fun to put on and a nice change-up from all of the heavy metal of this year. The combination of strong vocals, fantastic dynamics, and a general ability to write catchy-yet-not-annoying music make Feel the Burn one of (if not the best) additions to this year’s AOR releases.
Written by Bear Wiseman
- I Salute You
- Night Drive
- Chariot of Fire
- Bring On the Rain
- Love is a Lie
- Ticking Away
- Candle in the Window
- Rock in the City
Independent, via Odyssey Music / OMN Label Services