Avid Cadaver - Sire, You're on Fire! (Cover Artwork)

Avid Cadaver

Sire, You're on Fire! (2004)


First albums are a mixed bag. Some are polished products eager to yield catchy, adolescent songs destined for next year's dust-bin. These are the majority of debut albums. Far rarer are debuts that give us a taste of real talent, of artists developing their larger vision through a collection of songs that are accomplishments of creativity, originality, and evolution that leave us intrigued and wanting the young artist to fully realize their ideas and artistic ability.

Sire, You're on Fire, Avid Cadaver's first release, falls into the latter category. This record is certainly a fine listen on its own merits, but will leave you clamoring for the next, fully realized version of Avid Cadaver, which should be nothing short of genius. What's so compelling about this record is its use of a myriad of styles of rock: From hardcore and metal to progressive and alt-rock, to the Beatles and Nick Drake-influenced folk. But rather than being schizophrenic and unfocused, Avid Cadaver (which is to Dan Sloan as NIN is to Trent Reznor) harnesses the vocabulary of these genres and to express Sloan's emotions, which are the heart of his songs.

Each song has a cohesion that holds even as Sloan switches from tender pleading to ear-splitting screaming; it's all a true expression of what's in the songwriter's head. Everything on this record feels authentic, which is why all the genre swapping works; it all comes straight from the heart.

The instrumental portion of this record is excellent, the songwriting and arrangements are solid, and the riffs and lead guitar work is impressive. Rather than stick to a pop structure, the songs evolve and grow, begging the listener to follow them through peaks of rage and valleys of vulnerability. Yet it never seems over-blown or self-indulgent, the way some rock music that employs this non-pop structure can get.