January 13, 2022

The clue is in the name of the album as this is the lesser known Firehouse being from Italy and not the glam/metal band from the United States that made quite a splash in the 1990s and is still operating today. This other Firehouse (from Milan) actually came first and released just the two albums with the self-titled debut coming out in 1987 and Labyrinth coming out in 1994 and then they split.

The core of the band was the Caruso brothers with vocalist Enzo and guitarist Frank performing on both albums with new musicians brought in for Labyrinth before splitting and the Caruso’s then setting up the Italian rock band Arachnes. The first album was never actually released on CD and for a number of reasons, one of which being poor marketing, the band just never really achieved the big time and I guess the emergence of the American band was the death knell for them. In many ways, it is a pity that more didn’t hear these recordings are they are really rather good AOR with a great collection of hook laden songs and delivered in great style by a band that were ever so obviously influenced by the American melodic rock scene.

Indeed, the band really does sound so American with vocalist Enzo Caruso being exceptional on vocals with accent free and perfectly delivered English vocals over which Franco lays down an array of ever impressive solos and riffs. For sure, there is a retro feel to the material but it is around 30-years old but due to the fact that there are still so many melodic rock bands around means that the music has actually aged very well and sounds just as fresh and vibrant today as it would have when first released.

There will be people out there overjoyed with this re-release and a chance to get a fresh copy and for the rest of us it gives us a chance to listen to a fine collection of AOR classics from yesteryear and if you are into melodic rock then there is much here to enjoy and savour particularly the performances of the two Caruso’s as they are truly on fire. They are aided and abetted by some quality musicians too and they all deserve some credit for the rather fine work that they did between them.

The CD is only being released in a very small edition of 300 which may be a mistake as I’m sure that many more will want a piece of this when they hear the record, if not, I hope that the record label will release it on streaming and digital platforms.

The Story of Italian A.O.R. Band 1987 – 1994

Firehouse (1987)

  1. Overture (0:42)
  2. The Secret Of The Sky (3:04)
  3. Open Your Wall (3:20)
  4. Way Out For Freedom (4:12)
  5. Pray (2:43)
  6. Time To Fly (3:19)
  7. Dreaming Black 8 (3:14)
  8. Break The Bonds (3:01)
  9. The Day Of Your Power (4:33)
  10. House Of The Fire (3:37)
  11. This Is My Life (3:34)

Labyrinth (1994)

  1. I Need The Fire (4:54)
  2. Calling Your Name (4:29)
  3. In My Eyes (3:42)
  4. Striking (3:35)
  5. Running Into Danger (3:43)
  6. The Prince Of Darkness (1:30)
  7. Labyrinth (4:35)
  8. A Dream Again (2:46)
  9. Stonework (1:20)
  10. Fly By Night (3:21)
  11. The Color Of Your Kiss (3:36)