Death on Fire is the product of one-man instrumentalist Tim Kenefic. Based out of Chicago, Kenefic is an extremely talented jack-of-all-trades musician who studied music at Indiana University and occasionally fills in on bass duties for local power metal favorites Zephaniah.The fourteen tracks, collectively called the LazerWulf Demos, show a lot of potential and guide the listener down an eclectic range of musical styles with occasional quiet interludes that explode into barrages of hardcore.
The album starts with “American Dream,” a powerful song about betrayal. The piano intro and intermission along with keyboard strings offer a nice bit of atmosphere before going into pummeling riffs with some biting guitar leads. Some of the notable tracks are “A Slave By Your Own Hand” which has thrash elements, especially in the solo, and has some of the best riffs on the album. “Most Favorite Hell” has a slightly off-putting vocal effect, but the jazzy interlude reminiscent of early Candiria easily makes up for it. “Blood Eagle” and “Who You Are” have a death metal vibe to them to give the listener a little something different. Other songs like “Closer to Love (BTK) Murder. Pt. 1.” and “A Hell of Our Own Design” offer more thrashy riffs creating some nice grooves. Lyrically the songs are deeply personal, revealing feelings of regret, anger, and isolationism.
For a collection of demos, this is fairly well-formed, but a couple of things could be addressed if these make it to a full-length release . First off, there are too many vocal effects and they are sometimes a distraction. They could actually be taken out entirely since Kenefic has a powerful voice with decent range. Also, a couple of the solos take you out of the moment and could stand some re-tooling (for instance on “The Fall”). On the flip side, the high points are some of the jazz and blues parts slipped into some of the song which go remarkably well with the heavier elements.
All-in-all, Kenefic has a good ear for melody and he’s managed to put together a hardcore album that is easily accessible and highly enjoyable. We’ll anxiously be awaiting a full-length release in the future.