Sound — 7
The debut album of Iced Earth mainman Jon Schaffer, Brush Fires of the Mind is a politically charged shot at the people who run the show behind the curtain. If you are familiar with Iced Earth the sound of this album wont shock you. It has his trademark guitar tone which in my opinion is one of the crispest, clear, and most aggressive tones out there. He handles all the guitar work except the guitar solos which duty falls to his band mate Troy Steele and long time friend Jim Morris. The trademark riffing and driving drums coupled with the surprisingly captivating vocal performance from Schaffer himself really give this album bite and edge, which if your not very political helps keep the listeners attention. My only gripe is the speeches that can break the flow of the album.
Lyrics — 8
Like I said above Schaffers' debut lead vocal performance is surprising. His dynamic and range are impressive(and not a mention of a dragon or castle anywhere!(I kid)). We heard him on StormRider but this is another animal altogether. The lyrics are all politically motivated and are quite clever, his goal with this album was to help illuminate the listeners to the danger of the road were are traveling down with the leaders of the world. It can be a bit much sometimes but its redeemed by the performance and the well thought out choruses and melodies here.
Overall Impression — 7
This is a very good album and it has a good message. Stop, Think, and ask Why. Not to live blindly and questions those making decisions for us. I'm not a conspiracy fanatic, I just think it's a good lesson and that what music is for in the end, to entertain and make us think. Notable cuts here are Don't Tread on Me and Jeckyll Island for the choruses and the general epic feeling. Its a free album too so you have no reason to not get it.