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Like A Fine Italian Wine

Posted by THE DUKE on November 4, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Gunfire- Thunder Of War

2004 Battle Cry Records


In recent years, the landscape in Italy has been a hotbed for talented, young metal bands. Bands like Rhapsody, Labyrinth, Heimdall and others have given the country a scene to be proud of. However, back in the 80s, there were not nearly as many metal bands boosting the scene in Italy. For this reason, the few metal bands that were active have now achieved a sort of legendary status within Italian metal circles. A few of these legendary bands such as Dark Lord, Dark Quarterer, and Gunfire cut their teeth early by playing classic metal. Gunfire is the topic at hand for this review.

Gunfire started playing a form of classic, power metal in the early 80s. The band released a four-track EP on a minor label called Picchio Records, and recorded a collection of demos that were never released. The EP, however, was the only official product released until the release in 2004 of “Thunder of War” on Battle Cry Records. The four-track EP is included as bonus tracks on this release. I was lucky enough to have copies of both the EP and the demos prior to purchasing “Thunder Of War.” On the early material, the singer Roberto “Drake” Borelli has a very high voice, which suits the razor- sharp guitar playing exceedingly well. The lyrics are sung in English, however, due to the fact that English is not the singer’s primary language, understanding the lyrics can at times be difficult. The material firmly fell into the realm of classic, power metal.

Fast forward to 2004, and what we have is what the band considers its debut album. The CD consists of a few rerecorded versions of songs from its self-titled 1984 EP, rerecorded versions of songs from the unreleased demos, and a few new tracks to keep things interesting. So basically, although it’s not packaged as such, it is a best of the band’s material thus far. The band now consists of three original members. The singer, lead guitarist, and bassist are originals with the band adding an additional guitarist and new drummer to the mix. Borelli’s vocals have aged, but sound great. Although he can still hit the high notes, his voice, probably due to age, does not stay in the higher register, which I think actually makes for a better listening experience. He, also, does a better job with pronunciation of the English lyrics. The main guitarist and founding member Fabio “Lord Blackcat” Allegretto lays down some nice melodic soloing with restraint, which is nice. In other words, there isn’t any Malmsteenish noodling up and down the fret-board on this release. Allegretto just produces great riffs and slick solos with feeling. The production really shines on these redux versions of the band’s old songs, which is a real selling point for the release. It is always great to hear original 80s compositions with a modern boost to the production.

All in all, the release is incredibly solid. It consists of well-written power metal that has its roots in the 80s. I cannot compare the band’s sound to another artist to give you a frame of reference. It is true classic metal, but there really isn’t anything to accurately compare it with. It sounds familiar, but not like anything that has come before it. You’ll just have to go out and buy it, and see for yourself. Italy’s Gunfire is as highly recommended as a fine Italian wine.

Categories: The Duke's Classic Metal Journal