FIREHOUSE – Full Circle (2011)

FIREHOUSE - Full Circle (2011)

Compilation albums have become so commonplace that if you were to go and look at all the various ultimate/definitive collections, super hits, or the very best of, many would find out record companies have little remorse cashing in on an artist’s back catalog.

Very rarely will labels reach out to the musicians themselves to get their blessing or will have them submit some liner notes about what the songs have meant decades after they ruled the airwaves.

It can be a very difficult task for music fans in general trying to find a greatest hits album that encompasses every avenue a musician explored in their initial 15 minutes of fame.

A band can tell how well their hits hold up by the energy they put into their live performances night in and night out, and with a group the likes of FireHouse recently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut, see them go back to the very beginning – just like album title suggests, going “Full Circle” – re-recording their hits, definitely makes some people scratch their head.

At first glance it might be somewhat disappointing for die hard fans who wanted new material but there are a couple reasons that CJ, Bill, Mike, and Allen decided to go this route.

Reason one: re-recording the hits they can finally get the rights to their classic material back. Reason two (and probably the most important reason) is fans were coming up to the guys at meet & greets and frequently asking them – ‘Where can I buy your greatest hits?’

I’m sure many will call “Full Circle” a throwaway effort with none of the re-records living up to the originals but I’ve got news for anyone who will try and find a reason to pick the album.

FireHouse have always treated all their material with the greatest respect. They didn’t go into the studio to try and recreate the same production values, instead FireHouse took every song and used the best of modern technology to make them shine in a new light.

All versions are faithful to the originals, but with some new arrangements and updated sound, much more melodic rock oriented.

The original extremely compressed drums (which I love) were replaced by a more classic, live organic beats. And I like the result.

Bill Leverty has added a lot of new guitar licks and sounds expanding on it with several contemporary elements.

CJ Snare is one of those rare voices from that era who hasn’t burned out and hearing him belt out classic lyrics in practically same manner he did some 20 years ago is downright jaw dropping.

Granted voices do change over the years and even though Snare doesn’t quite have that high pitch he had when he was in his 20s he is still able to keep everyone in the palm of his hand.

Ok, now comes the 1 million dollar question: Is FireHouse’s “Full Circle” recommended?

When I first found out that “Full Circle” was going to be a re-recordings greatest hits album I was somewhat disappointed but after hearing the finished product I can say confidently FireHouse made the right decision with this release.

I don’t think any other band that’s been around this long could pull this off with the same determination that CJ and the rest of the guys had.

There is nothing boring or repetitive about hearing all 11 tracks on this album simply because FireHouse isn’t playing these tracks note for note like when a majority of fans first heard them in the early ’90s.

This guys have evolved flawlessly even when the musical climate has changed ten times over, FireHouse have always managed to remain true to themselves and more importantly; to the fans that continue to go out and see them on tour.

At the end of the day I don’t really know if any of FireHouse’s peers could re-record their own greatest hits with the same enthusiasm and quality.

01 – Overnight Sensation

02 – Shake And Tumble

03 – Hold the Dream

04 – All She Wrote

05 – Love of A Lifetime

06 – Don’t Treat Me Bad

07 – Reach For the Sky

08 – When I Look Into Your Eyes

09 – You Are My Religion

10 – I Live My Life For You

11 – Christmas With You

C.J. Snare – Vocals

Bill Leverty – Guitar

Michael Foster – Drums

Allen McKenzie – Bass


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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    i like it. demo sound? you're deaf. these new versions sound is like actual trends. i love the old stuff production, but the new ones are great aswell.
    rockin' material, recommended

  2. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like the demo versions of the original songs. It sounds so flat and if these versions with low budget sound would have been on the original albums from the 90's I wouldn't be a Firehouse fan, I would have thrown the albums out the window.

    If they ever record a new album I hope the sound and production will not sound close to this….They need the producer from the first coupls of albums back…..

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