without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
"I'm never drinking again" is a platitude that we have all mumbled to ourselves through bile-soaked breath; you know it's not true but at the time you need to promise yourself (with your fingers crossed behind your back) that this horrible pain is never to be repeated. While I've only ever uttered the phrase to myself once (STUMPS Car Rally 2009 to be precise) I instead lie to myself by thinking "Okay, this definitely has to be the worst album I will ever listen to"; enter the debut of Jon Schaffer's solo project, the Sons of Liberty.
I'm not going to say it is the worst album of all time but it certainly is setting the bar high, or should that be low? 'Brush-fires of the Mind' is just mind-bogglingly terrible in every conceivable aspect; lyrics, riffs, vocals, bass lines, drumming... well actually the drumming is passable (probably because they're programmed) but it's barely a drop of water in the ocean of piss that is this album.
Musically 'Brush-Fires of the Mind' is little more than the most tedious and forgettable riffs of Iced Earth '95 - '98 because Schaffer is incapable of writing anything but. Notable highlights include the main riff to "Indentured Servitude" sounding pretty damn similar to that of "You Give Love a Bad Name"; seriously, go listen to it because that shit is uncanny and cracks me up every time. Second is "The Dying Republic" for having possibly the worst chorus of all time and for that fucking asinine attempt at song dynamics around 2:31 when it shifts from acoustic balladry into a heavy metal riff; it's just awful and a good example of how not to write a song.
On that note, there's no better way to start this next paragraph than to quote the aforementioned chorus from "Our Dying Republic";
Our lives should define freedom
Our lives, to live in our own way
Our lives must define freedom
Or will we let them take it away?
If you choose to listen to this album (heaven fucking forbid) then you'll be dealing with embarrassing and cringe inducingly awful lyrics like this that constantly harp on about defending freedom and liberty, and fighting politicians, tyranny and banks because THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS COMING GUYS OH FUUUUUUUUUUCK! Schaffer comes off as little more than a fucking crackpot, holed up in his basement surrounded by a plethora of guns, bottled water, tinned food and his life savings 'cause FUCK YOU BANKS AIN'T GETTIN' MAH MONEY! The lyrics are the final nail in coffin that take this album from being "Yeah it's shit, whatever" to "Holy mother of fuck, this dude is off his meds!". If the lyrics weren't subtle enough there's also a veritable slew of samples littered throughout each song of various speeches about the NWO and similar subjects. Initially these are a welcome relief since they mean Schaffer isn't singing, but eventually they become tedious and kill any momentum, making the songs feel about five minutes longer than they actually are.
After reading the lyrics you can't help but feel that Schaffer could have saved a lot time and money by simply starting up a blog because there is no point to this album; the music is irrelevant at best and exists to fill the background with noise while he rants and rants and rants. Hell if he doesn't trust computers (and really, it wouldn't surprise me) then he could go busk on the street or write a newsletter or anything, just as long as he does something that doesn't involve writing material for this loathsome solo project ever again. Christ, at this point I'd almost be somewhat glad to hear that he'd started writing material for Iced Earth again; that's just how dire this shit is.