You and me both know, wherever you are in the world and whatever side of the political spectrum you are from, the world has gone to shit.

Wherever you look. Whenever you turn on/hear/read (delete as appropriate) the news, there is something else that is awful.

That being the case – and after due consideration – I am putting forward Billy Bio to be our newly elected official. And why? Well this. That’s why. “A new generation that is kicking ass. Fuck the world and the upper class….” As he sings on “Generation Z” the absolute storming piece of punk rock that is one of the highlights here on Billy’s debut record.

Now, to be fair, Billy isn’t some kid, nor is he unknown. This is Billy Graziadei, best known as the frontman in Biohazard. “Feed The Fire” is his first solo collection and it is evidently one that he took very seriously. Saying in the build up to this: “With BillyBio, it’s 100% me. No influence from anyone else. This is who I am and what I’ve become. I’m a product of everyone I’ve met, talked with, shared my stories with…and a bit of their stories as well.”

“….Fire” lays its marker down early. The very first words on the record are Charlie Chaplin’s final speech from “The Great Dictator”: “The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people.”

Chaplin said those words in 1940 and listen to the hardcore fury of “Freedom’s Never Free” and its message, and then tell me its not as relevant today as ever.

Yeah, you could just use this as an excuse to lose your mind in the moshpit, but like Sick Of It All (who Billy is touring with) there is something more real at stake. “We’re not free, freedom’s never free” he roars and you’d best believe he means it.

As you’d expect from someone who has fronted one of the foremost crossover acts for 20 years, “….Fire” doesn’t get bogged down. The title track is catchy as hell, “No Apologies And No Regrets” starts off with the brooding menace of a Slayer song and absolutely kicks off. As brutal and fast as anything Madball would do, there’s 180 seconds precisely of beatdown here. It’s ferocious, it really is.

“Sick And Tired” chugs with its fists up and ready for a fight with anyone, “Sodality” which comes in with a rap style (as you hoped he’d do at some point) stands shoulder to shoulder with its brothers, and has some incredible lead guitar, “Rise And Slay” crushes. It smashes and it will leave you bloodied and bruised just because it can.

“STFU” is pure punk, and sounds just as indignant as you can imagine it would be, and whoever “Untrue” is about needs to be scared. Or leave the country. Now.

“Enemy” boasts a proper rock god solo to go along with its vicious beatdown, while it all finishes with “Disaffected World” – a veritable epic in hardcore terms over five minutes (granted a couple of minutes are white noise as if to emphasise the chaos) – it beats with a nihilistic heart. “I’m dying inside, from the hatred all around me,” says the chant and more than anything it sums up the world, both the real one and the world on this record.

Billy Bio needed to be real, he needed to reflect the tribulations of human existence and above all he needed to make a statement. With “Feed The Fire” he’s done all three.

Rating 8.5/10

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