Released June 19th, the same day as Lamb of God’s first recorded work without drummer Chris Adler, “Firstborne” was met with seemingly understandable mixed reviews. The most common adverse observation was “Chris Adler went from Lamb of God to this?” Followed by a slew of old man Hair Metal jokes, and comparisons to the worst music said genre had to offer. As so often is the case with criticism, those folks missed the point entirely.
Of course it was no accident that “First Borne” came out the same day as “Lamb of God”, and of course Chris Adler and company expected some unjust analysis from the peanut gallery. That’s all part of the circus. But these guys don’t have anything to prove to anybody. Adler in particular.
That man is forty-seven years old and has spent the better part of the last twenty years in one of the most high-profile Metal bands on the planet. James LoMenzo (bass) is sixty-one, and was a huge player in the late 80’s Hard Rock scene, back when Adler was a high school kid. That is a long ass time to maintain a prominent position in music industry, so I’m thinking maybe – just maybe – these dudes just wanted to get together with a couple buddies, jam some tunes, and enjoy some sea-level merriment for a damn change!
No need to take my word for it, though. Observe Firstborne’s bio page. The following text serves as a welcome message:
“FIRSTBORNE is a community. No one is to be excluded. It’s a soundtrack for all, meant to be a positive beacon in this dark time.”
This band makes the kind of music that’s relatable to just about anybody. Myrone is a fantastic guitarist (comparable to Jake E. Lee), and Girish Pradhan’s raspy, bluesy vocals are eerily similar to the late Ray Gillen (who was Lee’s vocalist in Badlands). They are a heavy blues rock powerhouse that are fun as hell to listen to, and If you remember Badlands, you know exactly what kind of fun I’m talking about.
Badlands not ringing any bells? How about Metal Church, Armored Saint, or Flotsam & Jetsam? Anvil, Raven, Savatage, the list goes on. All of them bad ass, and all of them highly influential both then and now. So, if anybody wants to start throwing around “Hair Metal” insults at Firstborne, they simply don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
Each of the five tunes on this self-titled EP possess the same type of sing-along joviality. With “The Anthem” and “Hunter Hunted” being the strongest of the group, Firstborne makes it clear they’re not here to sell out arenas or explode anyone’s brain by being technically or socially challenging. These guys just want to make fun, easily accessible and relatable music. Maybe have a beer with you after the show.
And isn’t that just the kind of thing we all need right now? A band that makes music “meant to be a positive beacon in this dark time”? The current state of the world makes it impossible for any of us to enjoy going to a Metal show, and that’s a huge fuckin buzz kill. But I for one am grateful for Firstborne’s invitation to look back on a point in history that wasn’t so apocalyptic. Nicely done, fellas!
Rating – 3.5/5