Label: No Remorse Records
You got a new comeback album. But you are not the random band next door. You are SPITFIRE. You have released a debut that pretty much identifies the entire Greek Heavy Metal scene and sound.
Yes indeed. SPITFIRE stands among tthe most legendary Heavy Metal bands of Greece. Their “First Attack”, debut album (released on EMI back in 1987) stands at the top of the greatest Metal albums coming from the little but still shinny Greek territory. It is needless to say that when we refer to “Greek Heavy Metal” the first band that comes in our mind, is SPITFIRE, mainly thanks to this particular debut.
The band’s story is pretty much known to everyone. They suffered a major blow when original singer Dinos Costakis was seriously injured in a car accident that forced him to retire from the stage. SPITFIRE actually found the courage to move on but a few more problems rooted in the music industry, led their career in a strange period while they were also pushed to change the name to SPEEDFIRE for a while. Under that moniker they released the live album “100% Live” (1990).
With important line-up changes and the SPITFIRE moniker back in the mid-90s the band kept performing live and released the second studio album “Die Fighting” in 2009. In 2013, their story became a fabulous documentary entitled “Spitfire: Back to Zero”. The documentary directed by Vagelis Rigas was part of the 7th annual London Greek Film Festival.
In 2020-2021, the line-up of Elias Logginidis – guitars, Tassos Krokodilos – lead and backing vocals, Panos Hatziioannidis – guitars, Nikos Michalakakos – bass guitar, George Paximadis – drums, and special guest George Aspiotis on keyboards, completed the recordings of the third studio album “Denial To Fall”. So here it is. And this time it seems that SPITFIRE are back, for good.
“Denial to Fall” is a great Heavy Metal album that highlights the SPITFIRE songwriting and sound of today. The solid riffing becomes the main basis of each and every song, leaving enough room for some outstanding lead guitar pats and vocal melodies.
Listening carefully to the entire album I am realizing that the band’s main goal is to build a strong and safe balancing between heaviness and melody. The riffing actually identifies each and every song in here. This particular feature drives the band’s sound to a specific direction that was followed by some very specific and selected bands on the Heavy Metal realm. Bands like ARMORED SAINT -“Raising Fear” & “Symbol of Salvation” albums-, ANVIL -“Pound for Pound” album-, and of course ACCEPT.
I guess that you have started to get the point that the riffing is the big highlight in here, however to talk about complete songs we got to have some more features of the puzzle. So in this point please allow me to admit that the vocals of Tasos Krokodilos are really taking the songs of the SPITFIRE new album to the real next level. I was sure that the top moment of this particular singer was the “Chasing the Light” album by the neoclassical Power Metallers HESPERIAN OPUS – but it seems that I may start to change my mind a little bit. I will put it straight and simple: The vocals on this album are pure pieces of gold.
Krokodilos sings on an emphatic way, full of emotion. His vocal melodies made the songs of this record to sound even more powerful. If you still haven’t got the album’s message while hearing the ground breaking rhythm guitars in here, then the vocals will make you understand what is the big deal: SPITFIRE deliver some Heavy Metal straight in your face.
A riff-based Metal album GOT to have lots of outstanding lead and solo guitar parts and yes this is the case in here. Leads and solos are shining. Perfectly composed and arranged they are simply spreading the melody on the soundscape. Yes it is a fact that the guitars are the peak on this album. Elias Logginidis -the band’s spiritual father- uses his classic SPITFIRE style as a starting point while entering to a wide range of expression, highlighting a variety of influences, from late 70s, classic Hard Rock stuff, to selected Metal of today -both in riffs and leads / solos-. Panos Hatziioannidis is the real force on this new SPITFIRE attack. The guitar duo delivers an outstanding result.
A powerful rhythm section is a key feature for a good Metal album. Fortunately Nikos Michalakakos and George Paximadis are here to do the job. Drums and bass are HUGE on this record. You got to listen to the opening part of the “Wasted” song to get my point completely, but please do after you finished reading, cause when you put the song, you will forget about finishing the review, having already focused to some repeated plays of this killer track.
I also got to refer to the magnificent job that George Aspiotis has done on the keyboard parts on the record. Some really spectacular stuff to discover in here. Take a good listen.
Song picks from the album? I would start with “Many Lies” cause it is one of my favorite songs from the 90s SPITFIRE demo era and I was really happy to notice it on the new album. The 70s vibe of this song simply rocks. The opener “Stand to Fight” comes next. Listen to this tune and you would pretty much get the album’s whole vibe. Well isn’t it an opener’s mission? The same titled “Denial to Fall” track is also one of my favorites, cause it simply rules! Just listen how amazingly the vocals are filling the rhythm driven verses. And haven’t I told you that “Ready to Attack” is my new SPITFIRE classic? Well it is.
Selecting some specific songs to point on this review was not an easy task at all. Here we are dealing with some really well performed classic Heavy Metal on steroids. And as I speak about classic Heavy Metal I can add bands like SAXON or JUDAS PRIEST to the overall flame of influences for the new SPITFIRE material, describing the overall musical vibe that stands strong in here.
George Aspiotis produced the album together with the band. I am happy to notice that the production is crystal clear, and heavy. It completely grabs the vibe of a Heavy Metal band that stands strong in today’s standards and wisely avoid the “let’s sound like 80s” mood that the most of the times is developed through some computer plug ins or home studio semi-techniques that drive the result to nowhere. Fortunately this is not the case in here. SPITFIRE have developed a huge sound in their new record.
Conclusion? SPITFIRE are following their way without compromises. They simply keep on doing what they stared from day zero, playing Street Fighting Heavy Metal from the heart. They move forward, keeping their legacy and enforcing all the today’s inspiration on an amazing album.