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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Randy Ellefson

The Firebard

Review by Lisa Palmeno

A one-man band, Randy Ellefson wrote, performed and produced everything about The Firebard. The 10-track mythical metal journey features Ellefson on all guitars, bass and drum programming. He engineered and even shared mixing chores with Doug Johnston.

Performed on two electric guitars he built himself, the compositions are magical and wonderful. Stocked with lengthy progressions, each piece is complete within itself, keeping its original theme in mind. All instrumental and far off the beaten path, Ellefson's work has the mesmerizing quality of an ancient epic saga.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Legends
Ellefson kicks off The Firebard's journey with a galloping movement and a strong sense of purpose. This first track introduces the musician's metal style.
Weekend Warrior
Much like the first song, "Weekend Warrior" continues the legend with verses punctuated by brief breaks. The guitar riffs are very reminiscent of Yngwie Malmsteen's work.
Accolade
Acoustic and electric guitars are joined in this happy studio ceremony.
Into The Act
"Into the Act" is darker and heavier than previous songs, but with the same galloping movement characteristic of the album. With a sense of foreboding, this song creates tension and suspense in the story being told.
Crimes of Passion
Sustained high notes of the lead guitar glide across the major/minor interplay of the rhythm guitar, emitting a strong current of euphoria.
Still At Large
The heavily-accentuated drum programming and more intense guitar parts sound almost like Iron Maiden at the opening. The guitarist veers from the melodic sweetness of earlier songs and ventures into a forest full of secrets and uncertainty. This is a very effective turning point in the tale.
Motif Operandi
Here the composer resumes the uplifting, high-speed expedition.
A Far Cry
The album starts to wind down on this one with a much slower tempo and more relaxed pondering on the fret board.
Epic
"Epic" starts out as a slower, augmented follow-up to "A Far Cry," and then gains steady momentum before winding down again. This one really sounds like an "end of a story" song.
Journeys
If The Firebard were used for a movie soundtrack, "Journeys" would fit right in place with the credits. The track summarizes the parts of the theme laid out before it.
 
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