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Shadow Music Mike Oliveri Review by
Mike Oliveri
Independently Produced and Distributed

You've got to respect this kind of determination and dedication.

FIREAXE is a solo project by Brian Voth. What he's done is taken eight classic poems by horror icon H.P. Lovecraft and turned them into songs. Then, to sweeten the pot, he accepted two poems (both similar in theme and style to Lovecraft's work) from a friend, Octavio Ramos, and turned them into songs as well.

Music in hand, Voth recorded the 10-track album in its entirety in an apartment bedroom on a Yamaha MT8XII 8 track recorder. He then mixed it at a studio called Goofy Lucy's, got a friend named Kevin Dvorscak to put together some really cool cover and interior art, and Dave Smith burned off copies with a CDR.

Voth's labors paid off. Big time.

The end result is a haunting tribute that any Lovecraft fan is sure to enjoy. The music is mostly Metal, ranging from the wailing ballads harkening back to the 80's all the way to the crunch of modern times.
The music is specifically written to accentuate the poems. During more tranquil stanzas, the music is mellow and soothing. The guitars take a more classical sound, and on some tracks there's a soft piano (okay, keyboard) accompaniment. But as the horror rears its ugly head, the drums, bass, and heavier guitars really kick in to drive the terror home.
Voth's vocals are well-suited to both the music and the subject matter. He packs a lot of feeling and emotion into every track, whether he's reciting or singing the stanzas. He's not the best singer in the world, but he's definitely not bad and has a lot of range, something that can't be said of a lot of Metal singers.

The length of the tracks are further evidence of the work Voth put into this CD. The shortest track is 4 minutes 25 seconds, with the bulk of them running an average of about seven minutes. The longest, "Nathicana", is an epic 15 minutes 15 seconds long.

The CD is very well put-together, and I heard only one brief skip in one track. I would have put a little more volume into the vocals on one or two of the tracks, as they were competing hard with the music, but other than that there were no problems.
My favorite tracks include "Nightmare Lake", "The Ancient Track", and "Nemesis" by Lovecraft and "The Hounds of Tindalos" by Ramos. (Note: "The Hounds of Tindalos" was also a work by Frank Belknap Long, another writer in the tradition of Lovecraft.) If you're a fan of any of these poems, definitely seek out this CD.

For ordering or similar information, click on the album cover or contact Voth directly via email. Or go HERE, for tracks in MP3 format and download a few. "Beyond Zimbabwe" and "Nightmare Lake" are available off this album, and there are a few tracks from another FIREAXE CD, A DREAM OF DEATH.


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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