For 20 years Rune Grammofon has made a habit of releasing music that is beyond easy classification, in later years typified by Swedish trio Fire!, consisting of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin. All three are highly accomplished musicians, but Fire! music is not “difficult” in the sense that jazz and especially free jazz is often perceived. Very much a tight knit unit with three equal players, Fire! has been likened to powerful guitar led trios such as Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but with Berthling´s heavy, doom laden basslines being such a typical identifier, we can´t help but thinking of Black Sabbath´s debut album when it comes to hypnotic impact.
The Hands is the trio´s sixth album and once again displays a totally uncompromising and intriguing mix of (mostly) heavy, dark and intensely burning music whether one decide on calling it jazz or rock. The album closes on a quiet and reflective note with the appropriately titled “I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence”.
And we say it´s easily their best so far.
“…makes Earth sound like Return to Forever.”
“…Mats Gustafsson, whose sax has never sounded more bloodied and bruised than it does here, now has a three-piece unit easily The Thing’s equal in sheer heft and force.”
– The Quietus
“Seven sensitively brutal missives from the dark side”
“Ducking clichés in taking a different approach, Fire! could be seen to be freeing up free jazz.”
– Record Collector
“The Hands is Fire!´s sixth release and it continues to fan the flames of the Scandinavian trio’s explosive soundworld”
– BBC Music
“…the raw energy is always there, humming in the background like a machine warning you not to touch it.”
“Clapping the hands.”