One thing that is unique about the styles of music from another decade is that the style doesn't simply stop because the next decade arrives, which is why it seems somewhat pointless to categorize music by a decade. Hard rock had progressed much, and some of the best albums arrived at the beginning of the 90s. Fire and Love was released during the last days of the so-called "Big Hair" music days. Although the music was never labeled that in those days, nor was having short hair in the front and long hair in the back called a "mullet;" we can thank VH-1 and the the south for this change. Guardian made the smart choice of recruiting Jamie Rowe as their new lead vocalist. After listening to Guardian's first album, First Watch, it's evident that Jamie is more appropriate as their source of lead vocals due to his incredible range and strength, which is needed for this type of music.
The album starts with a much more unrefined sound than the first album and the opening song, "Power of Love" almost carries a similar tone to Motley Crue's "Dr. Feelgood." "Send a Message" is another song that moves a little faster than the previous track. It focuses on people tearing down the walls of silence and not being ashamed of their faith. "Time Stands Still" is a soft rock song with more an edge, reminding the listener of the likes of Bon-Jovi. "Forever and a Day" is a great little timeless ballad amd, like many songs, it can easily be misunderstood as a love song. However, in a way it is, but it talks about the unconditional love available by God. "Fire and Love" is a straightforward hard rock experience. It is provided with a very catchy chorus that only takes one listen to leave an impression. "Time and Time Again" is another rock song that carries a little more emotion similar to rock band Cinderella. "The Rain" is one of the best songs on the disc, and quite possibly one that has aged the best as well. It begins with some rhythm and blues that eventually evolve into some serious hard rock, lyrically relating life to a storm that one can resist if they can tolerate these instances (which also make them stronger). The album closes with a very nice acoustic ballad, "Never Say Goodbye." The song talks about Jesus being there for someone at all times regardless of the situation in life, "If your eyes could see how much you mean to me/ You would take my hand and my love would set you free/ and I'm never gonna say goodbye/ I'm always standing right by your side."
The lyrics on Fire and Love are very basic, but it doesn't matter because it sounds great and it's well balanced with some incredible guitar work from Tony Palacios, fast paced drumming from Karl Ney, some great bass guitar work from David Bach, and some big improvements in the vocal department provided by Jamie Rowe's debut arrival. In the 90s, very few Christian rock bands could properly be compared to the mainstream bands (Cinderella, Ratt, Motley Crue, Bon-Jovi, Nelson & Nelson). Guardian is one of those bands that had no such problem, as they remained one of the most successful Christian rock acts throughout the decade touring with (and later working with) such greats as Steve Taylor.- Review date: 9/3/07, written by Wayne Myatt for Jesusfreakhideout.com
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