Not to be confused with the Spitfire from Greece (or any of the other Spitfires out there, for that matter), this is the German Spitfire, a young band from Karlsruhe that formed in 2014 and have already self-released their debut EP. I got a nice chuckle out of the band members’ names and photographs in the CD booklet. Let’s see, on bass we have Dissident Aggressor. Handling guitars and vocals is Conquis Tadores. Last but not least, the drums are pounded by Thunder Manne. All three members are photographed in various states of what appears to be alcohol-induced incapacitation, a familiar sight for anyone who’s ever attended a German heavy metal festival. The only thing German metalheads like as much as metal is beer, and God bless ‘em for it.
This EP sounds and feels very much like a demo. Production is raw, rough and muddy in true underground fashion. Sure it’s littered with sonic imperfections, but that’s part of the charm. The bigger issue is that Spitfire don’t seem to have quite dialed in a specific sound or forged their own identity. Sure, all five tunes on display are underground, old-school true metal to the core, but within those boundaries Spitfire are all over the place. “Spitfire’s Down” and “Stormblade” are ass-kicking melodic speed/thrash metal a la something like Iron Angel. “Soultaker” has that mid-paced NWOBHM swagger. “Lead Me to the Sky” channels Iron Maiden with huge melodies, a propulsive bass line, and “woah woah” vocal parts. “The Red One” is an amalgamation of all of these styles in the same song. Lyrics range from the historical (“Spitfire’s Down” has lines like “dogfight over London” and “protect your England on endless skies”) to the banal (“Stormblade” features the couplet “We play until we bleed until we gonna die / To bring you Heavy Metal the reason of your life”) to the juvenile (“The Red One” is apparently about a ginger friend of theirs who really likes booze, complete with irritating voiceovers and police sirens). Vocals are also an issue, with Conquis Tadores vacillating between a gruff shout, a high-pitched scream, and an almost punky snotty half-spoken voice all within the same song, and sometimes even in the same vocal line.
The two most apt descriptors for this EP are “unfinished” and “inconsistent.” In hindsight, it’s probably a mistake for a band to record and release a 24-minute mini-album so soon after forming, simply because there hasn’t been time to gel as a unit, hone their sound, and settle on a particular musical direction. All of that said, Spitfire’s enthusiasm and obvious love for their chosen genre are both admirable and infectious. I earnestly hope they’ll lock themselves in the garage/basement/rehearsal room and come out in a year or so with a full-on smasher of an album. It could happen, but the Messrs. Aggressor, Tadores and Manne aren’t there yet. Remember boys, it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll …
~ Review by Kit Ekman~