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Review: Category VI - Firecry
Category VI

Label: Moribund Records
Year released: 2023
Duration: 42:19
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: April 23, 2023
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 3.89/5 (77.78%) (9 Votes)

I somehow missed War is Hell back in 2017, so I only have 2013's Fireborn as a reference when it comes to Category VI. Time flies, as I didn't realize they'd been around this long. Firecry is crunchier, heavier and darker than Fireborn was, and darker in that it sometimes even feels like a bit of a downer (you have to be in the mood for that). I hear less of an old-school heavy metal vibe here, taking a more full-on modern power metal direction, though you can still tell it's Category VI if you've heard them before. Something has been bugging me since the first listen and after going back to Fireborn, I realized it's the vocals that are just too loud. Amanda's style is still the same and there's nothing wrong with her performance, but the vocals just sound way too damn loud on this. Compare any song from the two albums to hear that. When the vocals almost bury the music, something has gone wrong somewhere. Some vocal lines, like on the second song "Valkyrie" (and a couple of others) kind of get on my nerves as well, but that is about as subjective as it gets. The album ends with a cover of Heart's "Barracuda." I'm not well versed in the band, I think I just know their greatest hits, but I quite like how it turned out here. I heard the original while I had Firecry on regular rotation and found I like this cover better. I'm probably being an heretic for some by saying that. ;) Bottom line, I think the album would have benefited from toning down the vocals somewhat, but it's overall strong, heavy, powerful, dark power metal and there's a lot to like for fans of the genre.

Other related information on the site
Review: Fireborn (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Firecry (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: War is Hell (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Interview with Geoff Waye (guitars) Amanda Gosse (vocals), and Keith Jackman (bass) on July 17, 2017 (Interviewed by Christopher Foley)
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