Birmingham’s eclectic metallers unleash album number two at long last

It looked dodgy back there for a while. The debut album, “A Place Called Home” had been a cracker and had seen Salvation become one of the most talked about bands in the Midland’s Underground Scene. “Ignite The Fire”, the second record was all ready to go, then one of their number contracted nasty illness and the band – as well as the sophomore album – was mothballed while more important battles were won.

Happily, they are back, fit and healthy, but more pertinent to the next four hundred words or so is the fact that “Ignite The Fire” proves they are very much firing on all cylinders again too.

A band that evidently always had lofty ambitions for their music, everything about the opening salvo is as big as you like. “Ignite The Fire” ushers itself in on the back of some mighty classical guitar and some grandiose classical guitar. This gives way to “To Hell And Back” which is a fine example of thunderous riffing and the giant sounding voice of singer Dougy Reid.

Salvation were always a band that had something of the Southern Groove rock about them, although it should be noted that this was never retro sounding. “Ignite The Fire” has every inch of this too, and “Fortune” has flourishes of it, but combines it with a being a thumping metal track and having a twin guitar solo that Scott Gorham would enjoy.

Indeed, the reason why people are so glad to see the quartet back in the saddle, is that there is so much light and shade here.  For example, they follow this up with a “Sleep” a track that merrily embraces – and relishes – the history of Heavy Metal and “Sweet Mercy” which seethes with anger and is a more modern take on the music invented in their hometown.

“Darkness” however, is another left turn. A hypnotic, brooding, somewhat unsettling ballad, is a fine example of songwriting and that you can never second guess either this band or this album is made flesh by “Ashes In Hand” which is something of swampy metal hoedown.

On a strong collection with barely any let ups, “As Days Go By” allies its country fried ideals to an odd time signature and a genuinely fine, widescreen chorus and “Doorway” is something of a highlight. Opening like latter day Maiden at their most prog, it soon is into its work of providing a crushing hook, something that “Mama’s Fool” brings in spades. Acoustic in the way that prime Blind Melon, or late period Stone Temple Pilots might have been, it’s hedonistic suggestion that they are “fools for rock n roll, whiskey and good times” is merely confirmation that Salvation who love what they do.

On the flip side of that ending the thing with a gorgeous version of “May The Tide” is proof that they are talented in a way that not many are as the track from the debut is given a piano makeover and sounds wonderfully invigorated.

It gives “Ignite The Fire” the closure it deserves. Who knows where it can take them, but there is no doubt at all that Salvation can be mighty proud of their work. Sometimes things are worth the wait.

Rating 8/10

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