Managing a heavy metal record collection is a lot like managing a baseball team. You’ll need a deep bench. In baseball, you can’t start the same players every single day. Eventually they’ll need a day off to rest. It’s the same with your metal music. You can’t keep the same forty or fifty albums in rotation non-stop without delving into the back-ups for something fresh to listen to. In baseball, the best bench players are the “utility” players. These are guys that can play multiple positions. They may not be as good as the starters but they’re adequate when called upon. Blacksmith’s Fire From Within is kind of like a utility metal album. It tackles a lot of different metal styles on one record. It doesn’t do any of them exceedingly well, but it provides a serviceable reprieve from the same old same old.
New York’s Blacksmith released Fire From Within on Tropical Records in 1989. You get a little thrash, some power metal, one fist-pumping anthem, and even a (pretty bad) power ballad. It’s acceptable on all counts (except the ballad) and just good enough for the occasional spin. Sure, Fire From Within was a little dated for 1989 — it would have sounded much fresher in about 1985 or so. But all these decades later, why split hairs? My score: B-