Fireball Ministry – The Second Great Awakening – Review

Fireball Ministry

The Second Great Awakening (Nuclear Blast)
by Brian Varney

My first listen to this greatly-anticipated full-length reminded me of a conversation with a buddy about Never Mind the Bollocks. After my enthusiastic ramble about what a great album it is, he agreed, but also pointed out that at the time it was viewed as kind of a disappointment because everyone who had the singles already had over half of the album.

There are no Fireball Ministry singles to speak of, but The Second Great Awakening has ten songs (11 tracks, but one of ’em’s an intro), four of which are already available elsewhere. “Flatline” appeared on some compilation or other on TMC, and the three originals from 2001’s FMEP are included as well, though they’ve been re-recorded for this release. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good songs and, rare as those are, I’m glad to have them in any form I can, but the greedy part of me wishes this album was all new stuff because, you know, maybe they could’ve come up with four more good songs.

The question of what to call Fireball Ministry is a bit trickier. Though they’re on Nuclear Blast and they’re all obviously old metalheads, to call the band metal would be to piss off a lot of metalheads, my Editor included. A lot of the elements of classic metal (as in NWOBHM) are here, but the band’s propensity for melody and hooks sorta erects an insurmountable barrier separating them from what is currently accepted as metal. In fact, the first comparison that comes to mind – though Fireball Ministry doesn’t especially sound like them – is early Misfits, another band who stood out from others in their genre due to exceptional melodic and pop sensibilities.

Fireball Ministry have already appeared on an MTV “You Hear It First” segment and, if they continue to crank out terrific songs like the aforementioned “Flatline,” it’s not inconceivable that they might have a minor hit if they’re able to overcome the potential hazards of abjectly ugly cover art and the stoner rock stigma with its retro implications.
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)