without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I can guarantee you this will be short and sweet. An album this repulsive need not be given the respect of a thorough examination better albums receive and deserve. All you need to know is that Brush-fires of the Mind is horrendous. Like, Queensryche's American Soldier horrendous (at least Queensryche's release had decent lyrics). Very, very little of this album is worth your time and attention, and it's not worth your money or patience to experience it.
If you're already not a fan of Jon Schaffer's work, this won't convince you otherwise. You may leave the room now. For those of us who are fans of his work, know this: our man has sunk very, very low with this one. This is not an Iced Earth album, so don't be expecting any soaring choruses or dark riffs and themes. This is not a Demons & Wizards production, so don't be listening for any passages by Hansi Kursch. No, no, no. This is Jon Schaffer, by himself, writing music about politics and conspiracy theories. Better get your hard hats for this one.
Oh, and when I said by himself, I mean him, his bassist, some dude who does the guitar solos, some backing vocalists, and a drum machine. The guitar soloist seems like he's lost and unsure in his work, the solos meandering about rather than melting face. The backing vocalists do a good job, I guess. Schaffer himself is responsible for the rhythm guitar (which is decent enough, he can still chug with menace) and the drum machine programming, which apparently has been set from Stun to Snooze. He also supplies his own vocals. Matt Barlow and Tim Owens better look out for this guy! He's just too much!
If you look at the album as-is, it's a plodding mid-paced snooze from the same guy who brought us Burnt Offerings and the Demons & Wizards S/T. The very same Jon Schaffer who could keep us entranced with dark melodies and haunting, demonic riffs is now reduced to playing elevator music with very little to distinguish each track from the last. Disappointing--but wait! There's more! We haven't even begun to cover the amazing(ly bad) lyrical content!!!
Have you ever watched Fox News? Infuriating, isn't it? I mean, how could they be so misinformed about the very news they exist to broadcast, right? Yeah. I would've bet my life's savings that Jon Schaffer subscribes to their newsletter, but I've learned recently that he's, instead, bought into the 9/11 Truth movement. He's all over them New World Order conspiracy theories. And it shows. Good God, this album reeks so much of "Our government is evil! Rabble rabble rabble!" and "DEYR TAKIN MAH RITEZ" that it's extremely difficult to take seriously.
So...that's Brush-fires of the Mind. By Jon Schaffer, and apparently, for Jon Schaffer. We have an almost-glittering gem of an album carved from pure blandstone, detailed with blandpaper and whine-o-mite. There is only one song that actually resembles Schaffer's better work, and that is "We the People". The plodding tempo makes it feel like a military tune, and the chorus marches forward with purpose and power. It's an interesting and dynamic song! Unfortunately, the lyrics are just as crummy as usual ("[Fascists!] That's what we are now / Do you really think you're free?"), so it's not a total win.
One decent song, Schaffer. Is that all you've got on your own? Eight completely shitty soapboxes and a single shiny one? No thanks. Keep your pamphlets, and don't ask me about your newsletter.