By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: September 4, 2020
Label: Hopeless Records
The question on hand is if Fame On Fire is a cover band. Simply put, no. It’s something the band doesn’t want to be labeled because they’re absolutely not a cover band. The West Palm Beach based band is a genre-defying four-piece outfit who are, like many other bands pushing the boundaries of rock, hip-hop, pop, and metal on their debut album, LEVELS. The band’s music has quite the resemblance of popular genres on the radio today, but with a heavier spin to it. The band, who consists of vocalist Bryan Kuznitz, guitarist Blake Saul, drummer Alex Roman, bassist Paul Spirou, wrote, recorded, and produced the album on their own, and in their own studio. This left the band with full reign to their creative choices on the album.
Unlike their previous EP, Transitions, which blended pop with metal subgenres, LEVELS sees the addition of rock and hip-hop to their repertoire. The best way to describe the music is bands like Breaking Benjamin, Skillet, and more were performing radio pop hits and rap tunes. However, Fame On Fire stand out among these bands with their unique take on mixing the genres they do. The album’s name holds multiple meanings too. It refers to the motions of life, the various levels life carries, the ups and downs that all people can relate to, and the quest to level up and continue to move forward. This dichotomy defines a band that is not willing to stand still or be complacent, but one that continuously tries to evolve their sound and craft, as the band has with their sound, songwriting, and other aspects on LEVELS.
Fame On Fire is always looking to evolve when they continue to write music and that’s more than evident on LEVELS. Over the last three years, putting aside the ever so slightly change in direction musically, LEVELS sees the overall theme of hopefulness mixed in with heavy riffs, hip-hop beats, and pop melodies. However, the themes of anguish, love, loss, and the toxicity in relationships are also in display within the lyricism on the album.
LEVELS begins with an intro track titled, “Cover Band.” The intro track sort of pokes fun at the fact people are constantly asking if Fame On Fire are some form of cover band. The first track off LEVELS is the fourth single, “Her Eyes.” The track is massive at its roots with its heaviness, but with its Post Malone-esque infectious chorus it makes for something really different than what’s out there right now. The single landed #1 on on Sirius XM Octane. The song explores the turmoil of surviving an emotionally abusive relationship with the brutal honesty of someone who wants to push through all the challenges and remains hopeful in getting to the other side of it all. The second single, “Not Dead Yet,” continues on the same vibe, whereas “HEADSPACE” that features fellow Florida hip-hop artist POORSTACY, is heavy, it’s poppy, and it certainly shows the most hip-hop influence yet. “HEADSPACE” is about fighting demons within your head and breaking out of the internal prison of the mind.
Tracks like, “Crazy For Your Crazy,” “Show You,” “So Sad,” and “Down” show some of the album’s most pop influence and a bit of similarity to their last release, Transitions. “Now and Forever” is the album’s most recent, fifth single and overall the rest of the tracks, one of the heaviest on LEVELS. “Now and Forever” also features a guest appearance from Trevor Wentworth of the band Our Last Night. LEVELS ends off with the third single, “Scars of Love” that is an acoustic pop ballad through and through. It’s a drastic, but fitting close to the unpretentious and openly honest content that Fame On Fire deliver on LEVELS. All thirteen tracks cover a wide diverse range of genres, they’re all energetic in their own ways, all infectiously catchy, and more than emotionally-wrenching deep down.