Fire In The Head: Emerald Rose Live

Emerald Rose

Independent release, 2002

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


As the Pagan population in the United States and worldwide has grown over the last twenty years, so too has the obvious corollary; Pagan music. Similar in some ways to Christian contemporary music, a great number of artists have produced rock or pop music with Pagan or Wiccan themes. Unfortunately, it has often suffered from the same problem that CCM has had; in a nutshell, a lot of it sucks. Too often, faith has been used as an excuse to put out badly performed, written, or produced music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Isn't it nice to discover the exceptions? I've found a big one in the latest CD from Atlanta-based Emerald Rose, Fire In The Head.

Frankly, Emerald Rose rocks. The band (a standard four-piece of two guitars, bass, and drums, with a few arcane instrumental adds like bodhran and pennywhistle) is talented; they remind me a lot of Tempest, but where Tempest has occasionally sounded stilted or forced, Emerald Rose is relaxed, quick, and spontaneous.

Even more surprising, this is a live CD that sounds good. Longtime DV readers know my feelings about live CDs in general; most of them are poorly recorded and the sound quality suffers. Fire In The Head, however, was tightly miked, well-mixed, and smoothly recorded, but still has the immanence of a live recording, with real crowd noise and audience banter. This well-produced, eminently listenable CD is a great introduction to Emerald Rose's sound.

Special credits have to go to a few tracks. The ZZ-Top-meets-the-Mabiginion "Chicken Raid of Cymru" has to be heard to be believed. "Summerland" and "Freya, Shakti" are two of the greatest Pagan hymns -- yes, I'll use that word -- I've ever heard, and I intend to use them in ritual as soon as I can find the right moment in the Wheel. "Vampire Girl From Orn" is funny as Hel, and has been getting justified airplay on the "Dr Demento" show. Finally, Emerald Rose's version of "A Pict Song" is chilling and gorgeous. We should all send copies to John Ashcroft and keep him from sleeping at night.

Fire In The Head is a wonderful piece of work from one of the best Pagan bands out there. It captures their talent and energy perfectly, and should not be missed.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.