The Safety Fire may have formed in 2006, but their debut album didn’t materialise until last year, which makes this an unexpectedly swift follow up. What sets this band apart from the ever-expanding list of prog metal up-and-comers is their desire to be truly progressive.
There are splashes of Coheed & Cambria and Karnivool here, but the London band also take their cue from some of the more extreme exponents of math rock. The resulting concoction is at times both innovative and captivating – both Glass Crush and Old Souls are clattering examples of just what the group are capable of.
The downside of having such ludicrous technical ability is the temptation to cram every millisecond with blistering guitar runs. Miles Davis may have been far removed from metal, but his adage about the importance of the notes that you don’t play has some resonance here. The lack of space – and consequently songcraft – that hinders the title track and Red Hatchet is almost claustrophobic, and there’s also a suspicion that the lyrics were added as an afterthought.
Their next album will be pivotal, and we can only hope that they don’t fall victim to their own talent.