Ordeal by Fire
Roots and the Dust
~reviewed by Mick Mercer

To say it's been a good year so far for CDs would be something of an understatement. Hot on the heels of yesterday's great album comes a feisty EP from some Italian greats in a new band. Michele Piccolo (Burning Gates) and bassist Fabrizio (Wasteland), along with 'xxx' on drums and Riccardo Perugini on guitar bring us Goth Rock, as in GOTH Rock, if you get my meaning? It's a killer release. 

Let's side-slip and discuss their idea of including 'New Dark Age', an old Sound song. Adrian Borland was/is one of the greatest songwriters of modern times, and sadly killed himself due to mental problems, just when it seemed he may have conquered his worst demons. The Outsiders were an unusual band during the Punk era, The Sound were totally magnificent and really twice the band, artistically, than Joy Division were, but them's the breaks. Now, not only do Ordeal By Fire cover the song well, they successfully tread the hot coals between grim intensity and double-edged celebration. 

Not only that, but their own songs sound just as good, both in confident delivery and composition. 'Re-Creation' is so hungry it just eats your face off with a fierce guitar that romps across sturdy drums, as gruffly noble vocals (in English) blurt out. It has a wonderfully chunky production, and the song turns on the stamping drums. This is Eighties power (think 'Preacher Man' crossed with the more direct attack of Play Dead), given a new sense of perspective. They take the best elements of the past, then kick into modern attack, to produce an epic opener, followed by a more jittery tune, with cool drum into, and bass so deep it twangs, still tucking pretty moments into the shadowy bulk. 'Obsession' is a Baudelaire poem, not that I'd know, so it flows like Goth wine, as the music pitches and tosses, carrying our roaring sailors forward in their homemade vessel. Bon voyage! 

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