Hangfire - 'Shoot The Crow' (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Matt Phelps   
Monday, 27 February 2012 04:30

hangfirecoverTouched by tragedy when they lost original drummer and brother Aaron Evans it took South Wales band Hangfire a while to find their feet again and re-focus their efforts on moving forward. But thankfully after original members Max Rhead (vocals) and Lee 'Lizzy' Evans (guitar) regrouped with a couple of new bandmates (bass player Bobby Goo and former Tigertailz drummer Matt Blakout) they found a common musical ground that led to a feeling of rejuvenation growing within the group. Ultimately this has led to this first full album release, 'Shoot The Crow', and the collection of pounding hard rock that the foursome have pulled together here blasts like a shotgun cartridge packed with eighties gunpowder and bluesy seventies shrapnel. 


Getting things started with a shot of 'Adrenalise' it's clear that 'Shoot The Crow' is gonna groove big time. Some solid driving chords lead into a swirling opening that grabs attention and when it gets to the first guitar solo, just 2 minutes into the album, it's chills down the spine time. The rock steady rhythm of the man with no C in his name and bassist Bobby underpin some incredibly fluent and soaring melodies from the six strings of Lizzy Evans. Lizzy's solo stamps an instant identity on the Hangfire brand, a rock band not afraid to wear their love of intricate guitar work and solos on their sleeves. Having the talent to execute them so flawlessly always helps and Evans proves to be a real powerhouse for Hangfire especially when twinned with the deep and powerful tones of Rhead.


'Adrenalise' is an energetic start and the pace and song writing style is kept up with video track 'For Crying Out Loud' chugging along with a rock steady riff and another big chorus. Although Hangfire are clearly influenced by the sounds and styles of seventies/eighties rock and metal the production of 'Shoot The Crow' certainly tells a healthy modern tale. Depth and width within the production giving a thick, rich and fully rounded sound to the tunes, not too dissimilar to Tesla's 'Forever More'. 'Bodies' digs up another dirty riff that oozes from the underground with twists like a zombie stomp and the album's title track surges with a slight funk edge and off kilter beat to the groove. The epic 'Slip Away', clocking in at just short of 7 minutes, would be the perfect soundtrack for kicking back and indulging in a smooth glass or two of Jack (Russell) Daniels at Great White's 'Old Rose Motel'.


Following on from 'Slip Away' is a song that I think has all the hallmarks of becoming a future classic, certainly a Hangfire live favourite. 'Faith In Me' has all the swaggering hallmarks of early Whitesnake, rocking in the shadow of the blues and positively falling over itself to strut out of the speakers. A grainy mix of lonesome lyrics, desert sand and tumble weed riffs. 'Fire In The Hole' also shows that the Hangfire lads are happy to mix up the influences, drawing a little from a bit further back in time than 1987. The chorus is big and bombastic, a Hangfire signature but with the sultry grooving support under the verses Goo and Blakout weave a smoky sound that could have Jim Morrison's hips snaking straight through the haze of rhythm. 'Fire In The Hole' is for me the underdog of '...Crow', it's a slow burner but one that's had me going back to it time and time again along with 'Faith In Me'.


'Deadman Walking' takes the final bow after actually appearing twice on 'Shoot The Crow', featured earlier on as an electric version and again as a touching acoustic bonus at the end of the album. As a track with a personal twist it's here that the fullness of Rhead's tones really shine through. Echoes of a youthful bluesy David Coverdale bringing heartfelt emotion to the tender moments of reflection and remembrance. In total eleven tracks of incredibly strong rock with a bluesy fusion wrapped up with soul and dedication make 'Shoot The Crow' highly recommended listening for anyone who likes their music hard, melodic, focussed and true.