Through Fire’s ‘Breathe’ originally debuted on July 1, 2016 debuting at #4 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums charts. Their debut single “Stronger” garnered attention right away and was even used as the official theme song for WWE’s “Backlash 2016” pay per view and was played during the Stanley Cup finals. Now the band from Omaha, Nebraska featuring Justin McCain (guitar), Grant Kendrick (vocals), Jesse Saint (bass), and Patrick Mussack (drums) returns with a deluxe edition that includes 5 new songs, alternate artwork, and a guitar tab booklet. The original album was a solid hard rock album that you’d leave on repeat and listen to it ten times over. The Deluxe Edition showcases their talent that much more.
The album starts off with an intro track before diving into “Breakout” a very fast tempo song that hits you with loud and heavy music. Grant’s vocals are built for rock with a mix of singing to screaming. What I love about this song besides the hard hitting sound is the overall guitar work. Justin keeps the hard rock while bringing in an almost electronic/techno sound. It’s unique and sounds amazing. And the guitar solo in this song is what more bands need to bring back. His quick rifts and speed mixed in with Patrick’s fantastic high speed drumming is a beautiful piece of work. And not to mention Jesse’s bass stands out strong as well. I’m not a fan of music where bass rifts get drowned out. That’s not the case here and this is only the beginning.
“Stronger”, their first single and a radio edit version, is the follow up song. It’s a slower song than “Breakout” and still maintains their sound. I can see why this was the first single as it’s well written lyrically and easily likable. I found it hard not to sing along. Jesse’s bass work really stands out in this as you can hear the bass strums through the song. He and Justin provide a nice blend for Through Fire’s overall sound. And of course, Grant sells the message of a person who doesn’t need to be dragged down by someone else with his vocals.
“Where You Lie” brings the sound back to a harder rock similar to “Breakout”. It’s great to see the band can mix it up and not have everything sound quite the same. But “Breathe” is definitely the slowest song they present. It’s to me Grant’s best vocal work as he hits some great high notes and brings them back down to low so easily. It’s so no surprise this was their second single. It’s a perfect ballad for radio play and is beautiful from both the musical and vocal aspects. I’m sure it sounds even better live.
I was very surprised when I got to “Dead Inside” as it has a very dark feel, definitely different than the rest of the songs of the album. Grant once again shows how easily he can handle different vocal aspects and he screams out a good portion of the song. Justin’s guitar work is soulful, Jesse’s bass playing is hardcore, and Patrick rips away drum beats and easily halts them on a dime providing a really nice sound to this tune. I feel it’s a song that fans love hearing live. “Blood On My Hands” is another one that fits that darker side of Through Fire. It’s unique compared to the other tracks lyrically and musically and yet still is a solid rock song. The last track of the original album “Damage” brings back the familiar Through Fire sound and is a nice piece of work.
Moving onto the new tracks starts with a cover of Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”. The original song is slow piano driven ballad with some amazing vocals. So for a rock band to tackle a song like this is ambitious. Through Fire pulls it off flawlessly. When I hear a band cover a song I expect them to make it their own yet while making it still recognizable. Replacing Christina’s pianos with their rock ensemble is so well done. And Grant absolutely does the song justice with his vocals and includes some nice rock screams to clearly show this isn’t your standard ballad. It’s a rock song now.
The next two songs and new tracks are acoustic versions of both “Stronger” and “Breathe”. These versions strip away all of the electronics and mixing and get down to prove both of these songs are still amazing singles. You can truly appreciate the soulfulness and emotion of “Stronger” when you hear it acoustically and hear how Grant softens it to match the music. “Breathe” was already filled with raw emotion, but hearing the acoustic version will give you goosebumps listening just to the acoustic and then Grant pouring his heart into the vocals.
The last two songs and new tracks are extended versions of both “Stronger” and “Breathe”. “Stronger” is the version that’s meant to be heard, but contains profanity, hence the radio edit version earlier. I prefer this version than the radio edit. The additional profanity, which is only limited to the chorus, makes more sense the way the song was written. “Breathe” has a much softer intro than the original and starts off with Grant’s vocals immediately instead of the musical intro. It’s hard to decide which I like better because they’re both strong versions. I think the extended version provides a little more emotion than the original.
‘Breathe The Deluxe Edition’ overall is a great album. Fans who already purchased the original should pick up this one as they will enjoy the new material. Those who have not picked up the album should get this version as they will not be disappointed. Through Fire is a band definitely on the rise and I sense great things from them in the future. ‘Breathe The Deluxe Edition’ is available starting today, April 7th.