If nothing else, I’m surprised when a band has been together for seventeen years, and is only now releasing their first studio album, especially after releasing an EP in 2013 and two demos prior to that in 2007 and 2009; that means SUBFIRE formed four Presidents ago! Then again, time does seem to have stopped since the 2000s began, so say hello to Veandok (vocals), George Larentzakis (guitar), Rindra Rado (bass), and Symeon Sanidas (drums) of the relatively new Subfire from Levadia, Greece! 

And, while you’re at it, take a gander at their first album, Define the Sinner, a pretty darn good traditional heavy metal album, which borders on power metal. The pressers are comparing it to the usual culprits, JUDAS PRIEST and BLIND GUARDIAN, but if anything, I’d say it kinda sounds like DEMONS & WIZARDS, as I shall elucidate further. Also, someone will probably yell at me for not mentioning that Define the Sinner was produced by power metal guitar/keyboard God Bob Katsionis, so I mentioned it.

My first question, though, is, if Subfire is a vocals/guitar/bass/drums outfit, who is playing the little tinkle-tinkles on the key-box, eh? I reckon it’s some auxiliary musician who the group didn’t feel was worth considering an official fifth member of the band; kinda like Geoff Nichols was in SABBATH. According to this interview from six years ago, Subfire had a keyboardist named Manos Nikolainas. But, ya know, that was six years ago…

Also; is SUBFIRE a Christian band? They have songs called “Fate of a Sinister World”, “Sins of Morality”, “I Repent”, and “Soul Redemption”, so it stands to reason. Regardless of whether they are or not, their overall seems to be a positive, uplifting vibe throughout the album, not least of all exemplified by album closer “Strength & Hope.”

Otherwise, the guitar work is the best part of Define the Sinner, just great, tight galloping metal riffs, pretty little acoustic passages, of which there are a few too many, the occasional burst of speed, and gorgeous solos throughout; while singer Veandok passionately wailes with the best of ‘em with a nice, clean voice that hits all the mid-range and high notes. My only real issue with Define the Sinner is that half of these ten songs start soft and then get loud ‘n’ heavy (a bit like Hitler's speeches). It’s an approach that a got a little repetitive as the album progressed.

Incidentally, my favorite tunes are the ones that don’t do that. Those would be the big, epic opening track, “Sacred Destinies”, which has a bit of a Middle Eastern thing going on, the second tune, “Infinity”, which is a groovin’ heavy riffer with a killer prog-metal break-down that’s followed by a fast part, along with some corny lyrics about “hope for humanity” (c’mon, there’s no hope!), and the second to last song, “Soul Redemption”, which is ACCEPT/JUDAS PRIEST style, proto-speed metal; obviously making that one an instant winner.

My least favorite tunes, not surprisingly, are “Sins of Morality” and “Pure Emotion”, which are basically ballads. These guys look like they could kick my ass, so why are they writing ballads? Even these two songs aren’t bad, mind you; they still eventually get heavy, and the guitar work is still pretty great, but it takes too long for them to do so.

Regardless, Define the Sinner is a solid debut album, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re into stuff like DEMONS & WIZARDS, that is, the less speedy strain of power metal that leans more in the traditional direction. And, like with DEMONS & WIZARDS, I wish they’d stop trying to re-write “The Wizard” by URIAH HEEP. But, hey, if these guys ever tour the states and stop into the Token Lounge, I’d be more than happy to drop fifteen bucks to check ‘em out! I’d even buy the CD and the t-shirt!



Edwin Oslan
Revenge of Riff Raff
5th October, 2021

Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment