Genre: Hard Rock / Melodic Metal
Label: Fahran Records
Release Date: Out Now!
LINKS: Official Website
Matt Black – Lead Vocals/Frontman
Jake Graham – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
JR Windsor – Drums
Joshua Ballantyne – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Chris Byrne – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
1. Long Gone
2. Take This City Alive
3. A Thousand Nights
4. I Heard a Joke Once
5. Chasing Hours
6. Cased in Steel
7. You Could Be Mine
8. Some Kind of Family
9. Are We Free
10. Back to Me
12. Black Mirror
13. Storms We Ride
Formed in 2012, Fahran released their self-produced, self-titled debut album after just 6 months together, to great reviews. It showed a band that easily crossed over the hard rock and metal genres so great things were expected for their second album. They’ve rapidly gained experience on the live circuit and have supported I AM I on tour as well as Heaven’s Basement in Feb 2013.
Although they lost Bass player Alex Stroud and Singer Nick Whitcroft they’ve landed on their feet by managing to draft in Josh Ballantyne (ex bass player for This Is Two) and Matt Black (ex singer for Serpentine). Chasing Hours therefore contains new energy and input from what is now the solidified line up of the band.
Given Matt Black’s background in Serpentine, there was an assumption that this might be an overly AOR led affair but from the opening strains of ‘Long Gone’ it becomes clear that we are going to get something far darker, more intense and much heavier. Matt’s vocals shine over the music and unlike a lot of metal bands on the scene at the moment it’s refreshing to be able to clearly hear every word and syllable uttered. The bass kicks from JR Windsor give the song an urgency and for a band that has only been together in this incarnation for a year or so, the sound is excellent with all players getting equal air at the front of the mix. It’s no surprise that there is a buzz about them at the moment as the strength of the opening track suggests a band that is going to climb the ladder very rapidly.
‘Take This City Alive’ is a classic hard rock track with a catchy riff that grabs the listener from the off and proves why the band were a logical choice to tour with Heaven’s Basement recently. So often the support acts are simply label mates and have no link style wise to the headliners. Fans of Heaven’s Basement should certainly be tracking down this release as it’s a very good genre match.
‘A Thousand Nights’ again opens with a tremendously catchy riff and has Matt’s vocals punching of of the speakers showcasing his range to great effect. Chris Byrne and Jake Graham share lead guitar duties and (assuming the stereo mix has one of them on each side) the duel and compliment each other on the solos mid song sounding like professionals that have played together for twenty plus years, not just the last two.
Recent single ‘I Heard A Joke Once’ follows and then we get to the title track on the album. ‘Chasing Hours’. Here we see a band that can stand shoulder to shoulder with many of the arena bands from the US that are currently selling albums and singles by the bucket load. Comparisons to Shinedown and Alter Bridge have been made and it’s easy to see why. ‘Chasing Hours’ could easily have Brent Smith singing instead of Matt Black and it would sit perfectly as the next single from Shinedown. Again it’s therefore worth pointing out that both of the US bands mentioned are several albums into their careers with huge fan bases so for Fahran to be able to sit along side them is credit indeed to the band.
The dual guitar approach works very well throughout the album, no more so than on ‘Some Kind of Family’ where we also get JR’s rapid bass drum kicks as well. Matt’s voice soars to the top of his range and it’s always good to hear a band with members also prepared to step up to the mic rather than leave it to the lead vocalist as this delivers some great harmonies that add real depth to the track. Snarling, attitude led vocals give ‘Are We Free’ a different sound so far on the album and on ‘Back to Me’ there is every likelihood Jon Bon Jovi will be ringing to negotiate a share of the royalties as it could easily be a modern update of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ or ‘Blaze of Glory Pt2’.
Clocking in at just under an hour, we get value for money on this release and the 13 tracks on offer show a band with a solid future ahead of them. Expect them to be headlining the Roundhouse in London in the not too distant future with the sign ‘SOLD OUT’ hanging above the door. The darker numbers that close the album ‘Prison’ and ‘Black Mirror’ especially show a band that will be able to change tone and style and although this is a new release makes this reviewer very keen to hear where they go with the next album. Let’s hope it is not a long time in coming.
REVIEWED BY ADRIAN