`Sunbound’ is album number four for Finnish melodic hard rock outfit Brother Firetribe, the band made up from renowned musicians from the booming Finnish scene. With Nightwish’s Emppu Vuorinen and Leverage vocalist Pekka Heino, fans already know what to expect of this band. But for those unaware: Brother Firetribe revived the classic 80’s west coast AOR and melodic rock, injected it with a modern twist and spice, to unleash it unto the world. Expect the classic movie scores from the eighties in the vein of Navy Seals, Iron Eagle, Kickboxer and, above all… Rocky! Soundtracks with pompous melodic rock anthems delivered by the reigning arena rockers such as Planet 3, Stan Bush, Survivor, Mr. Big, Robert Tepper, and so on. Larger than live choruses with sticky melodies and hook lines easily linked to numerous classic moments in those blockbuster movies. Think Balboa pumping iron to the beat of ,,No Easy Way Out’’ or the F16 rolling over in the sky to King Kobra’s ,,(Never Say Die) Iron Eagle’’. Tracks that became benchmark to rock in general.
Now Brother Firetribe has uplifted the polished sound of those heydays of hard rock. They injected it with panache and a fresh approach without discarding the sheer genius melodies and ear mingling choruses. It’s all blended with a powerful backbone of drum & bass and excellent guitar licks from Emppu, who uplifts the overall sound with his wizardry solo’s and riffing. Sure, every once in a while it all takes a stroll to much down memory lane and drifts over the edge of every cliché in the book. But never ever the band switches to simple copycat strategies reviving old ideas. Brother Firetribe may come across as a cliché, the band manages to reinvent the classic sound over and over again. The result is a stunning collection of tracks creating wild imagery in the head of the listener. Imagery rooted from those blockbusters and arena rock heydays. ,,Taste Of The Champion’’, the single, is a perfect example and can easily be featured in a remake of the Rocky epos. The song paws deep into the classic Survivor legacy of lyrical mellowness without lacking a melodic and crucial melodic punch. Throbbing bass, slick keys and ear mingling melody nesting in your head on the first spin. Absolute magnificent is the excellent power strike ,,Give Me Tonight’’ with its driving riff and catchy bridge and chorus. For melodic devotees it is sheer brilliance on offer here. The keyboard driven and pompous ,,Last Forever’’ spitting into gear with a sudden metallic opening solo easily fits any classic Harlan Cage album. Light footed shuffle and over the top anthemic feel good chorus, boosted by “ooohs” and “aaaaahs”. Perhaps a bit too much for some, but always sincere in its performance. ,,Strangled’’ fits the same pattern but has more bite with Pekka belting an excellent performance. It’s sheer melodic mayhem lasting for 13 tracks and going out with a big boom with the epical melodic strike ,,Phantamagoria’’. Five minutes of sheer perfection with a wide varied sound and pompous string arrangements propelling it. Brother Firetribe is raved upon by eighties adapts of the aformentioned, but likely to be crushed by non-believers and haters of the slick melodic cocktail. It’s a love it or leave it moment but it is certainly another step up from the last album and definitely a strike for the Finnish rockers. The thrive is magnificent and the band overall sound seems to grow with every release. `Sunbound’ is a must for fans of good ol’ AOR and West Coast rock anthems, and mandatory for fans of classic soundtracks and cinematic blockbusters.