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Canadian epic metal outfit Blackguard does an admirable mimicking of their Finnish counterparts on the 10-track endeavor FIREFIGHT. With a superfluous array of synth overlays (“Wastelands”), majestic power metal riffs, and a spirited vocal rasp leading the proceedings, this troupe serves up a multitude of middling melodic metal moments that stick closely to the wares of Children of Bodom and Dark Tranquility with dashes of folk and symphonic metal strewn in for good measure (“Cruel Hands”). Yet despite all of their strengths, by leaning on their influences and staying the course a bit too stringently to be considered required listening, this band falls prey to being interchangeable and lacking distinction, especially as the particular genre Blackguard is part of is so saturated. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a potpourri of extreme metal with a predilection for the highly orchestrated, Blackguard will fit the bill.
- Mike SOS