Imagine you’re on a journey to a sinister kingdom buried in the center of the moon to battle a wicked demon king known as Fear who has threatened your existence. This is the story that comes to life in dance metal band FIRA’s debut album From Vegas With Blood. Recently, I shared news of the Halloween release of their music video for “Endless Night” and got details about the musical project in interviews with members Hannah Fira and Michael “Vette” Rodd. Now that the album has officially dropped, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the narrative and listen to the entire set of tracks. Get ready to head out on a “vampirate” adventure.
In my previous communication with the duo, each explained how the songs on the album were inspired by real life events they endured. They drew on these experiences to create a metaphorical plot that centers on characters Fira and Vette who are being pursued by a demonic ruler called Fear, overseer of the Kingdom of Fear. They collaborated with producer Anthony Montemarano to help bring this creative vision to life.
The first track “Subdued” immediately brings the listener into the middle of the action where Fira and Vette’s ship has been infiltrated by a traitor among the crew who is an envoy for King Fear. I recall first hearing this when the group performed live at goth club Bar Sinister a year ago. The album version is slowed down, exuding a darker and heavier feel. I think it nicely sets up the ominous and mysterious vibes that pervade the rest of the songs.
In “With Blood,” the characters invoke a goddess of fire, petitioning for her aid as they embark to the moon to find the Kingdom of Fear. The lyrics do a wonderful job describing the fiery setting, telling of flames, volcanoes, ash and red skies. The track also incorporates theatrics, with vocalist Hannah speaking with aggressive passion about her blood sacrifice to the goddess. Rodd’s guitar accompaniment does an incredible job matching her enthusiastic tone in this part of the song.
Speaking of guitar, Rodd’s amazing skills are highlighted in many places throughout the album. One instant is in “Final Frontier” when character Fira calls out to her crew to take to their battle stations. You’ll hear some major shredding happening that communicates the bold spirit of the protagonists. It shows off the cleverness and creativity of the band in relying on both words and sounds to unravel their story.
“Vegas In Space” is a track that will have you simultaneously dancing and head banging. If you didn’t think metal and electronics mixed, this piece proves otherwise, and it carries an Industrial influence. At this point of the album, Fira and Vette have arrived at a satellite base where they wait for the rise of the Blood Moon to open the gateway to King Fear’s empire.
As the album continues, songs such as “Overcome” and “Threshold of Fear” encourage perseverance amid strife. They are fantastic metaphors for not allowing self-doubt to hold one back. Life is filled with situations that test our courage and resolve, but it’s vital to push on and, to reference the lyrics of “Threshold of Fear,” continue “full speed ahead into the darkness.”
The climax of the narrative seems to transpire in “Showdown,” where Fira and Vette engage in combat with a malevolent, fire-breathing black dragon figure. If you close your eyes and heed the song, you’ll no doubt be able to see the battle unfold in your mind. It’s quite an action-packed song filled with rich, vivid descriptions. This single will also make you wish you had a sword lying around to wield as the battle intensifies.
“Endless Night” will pull at the heart strings of any vampire lover. The piece was inspired by Father Sebastiaan’s Endless Night Vampire Ball soirees. It’s catchy, dark and sexy, and is another offering on the album that will make you want to dance.
The story comes to an end with “Labyrinth,” a very magical and spellbinding song. Strings and piano open the track, creating a gothic atmosphere. Here, Fira has met a prince in a dungeon with whom she exchanges blood. Hannah’s vocals are haunting and evoke mystery, drawing listeners further into this macabre fairytale. Although it’s the finale, it actually leaves us on a cliffhanger with Fira about to venture further into the labyrinth. From what I gather, the saga will continue in future albums.
Overall, the nine tracks featured on From Vegas With Blood tie together well and strike a good balance between storytelling and music making. Musically, Hannah and Michael “Vette” Rodd complement each other nicely and deliver a seamless performance. It’s a fantasy chronicle that I recommend.
From Vegas With Blood is available for $9 and can be purchase at the FIRA official website. If you listen to it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share them in the comments below!