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Fireball Ministry | FMEP | review | rock | Lollipop

Fireball Ministry

FMEP (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney

They call themselves "The First Church of Rock and Roll" (guitarist/vocalist James A. Rota II even refers to himself with the title "Reverend"), which is a pretty fuckin' ballsy maneuver. Considering I had only scant knowledge of these young scallywags before I got this in the mail, I had my attitude in place and I was ready to shoot the band and the CD down like a clay pigeon.

So I cleaned and oiled my rifle, put FMEP in the CD player, and cranked the volume. About midway through the third song, "Maidens of Venus," I walked to the gunrack and replaced the rifle, my feet shuffling.

As the saying goes, you've gotta walk the walk if you talk the talk. Well, Fireball Ministry walk it and talk it, and they could probably chew gum while doing both. They may not be the first church of rock and roll, but they're pretty high in the running these days.

Although referred to by the increasingly-nebulous "stoner rock" tag, Fireball Ministry's music, while heavily-populated with heavy, fuzzy guitar riffs, is really little more than classic, high-energy, two-guitar rock'n'roll, simply but powerfully arranged.

As has often been said, the best way to tell where a band's coming from is to examine the songs they choose to cover. For the analytical among us, this EP features a total of five covers. The righteous bands whose works are re-read from the Fireball pulpit are Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Blue Cheer, Misfits, and Aerosmith. A quick scan through those names will give you a bit of punk, a bit of metal, and a bit of classic rock. Throw a heavy dose of Black Sabbath into the mix (Rota's vocals are very reminiscent of Ozzy), and you've got your Church of Rock and Roll hymnal.

If you've never heard Fireball Ministry, what I'm saying probably makes them sound pretty ordinary. How many stoner reviews have you read with "heavy" and "fuzzy" somewhere in the text? Most of 'em, I'd imagine. This is where words fail, because Fireball Ministry are better than 98% of those "stoner" bands. Like the band's they've chosen to cover, they know how put together a catchy song. There's no doomy droning to be had here, just rock and roll. In the words of Ian Faith, "Simple. Black. Classic." Well, not the "black" part, but you get my drift, right?
(PO Box 02007 Detroit, MI 48202)


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