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Deeply flawed, with some tracks salvageable. - 50%

Warthur, July 14th, 2011

Fireball simply isn't as good as In Rock - the majority of the band admit this is the case, fan consensus is likewise. That said, there's plenty of saving graces to the album. The second half is actually, by my reckoning, a bit stronger than the first half, featuring as it does powerful numbers like The Mule, Fools, and No One Came.

It's on the first side that most of the problems lie. No No No and Demon's Eye rely on slow, plodding rhythms that, to my ears at least, lack verve and energy, rendering the songs in question dull and repetitive. The instrumental soloing this time around is generally weaker and more forgettable than, for example, the incredible guitar solos on Speed King or Child In Time on the last album.

And then there's the elephant in the room, Farmer's Daughter, which even Ian Gillian admits was a mistake to release as part of the album. Coming right in the middle, this is a weak and unimaginative folk-rock number that comes across as a novelty song, sabotaging any momentum the album had built up to that point. The disc is pretty much saved by the last few tracks clawing things back, but it's still a blot on the running order which would be better off removed from the album entirely.