We all wanted it to be an April Fool’s joke, but it is with a heavy heart that I must announce that we are gathered here today in order to mourn the musical loss of a band consisting entirely of top lads. We’re celebrating the life and recovering from the disbanding of none other than The Safety Fire.
My intimate connection with the band comes not from how well I knew the members, but with how well I knew their music. When I first listened to “Huge Hammers”, I was floored. The extremely emotional, visceral yells followed by clean, harmonized vocals immediately made it stand out. It also helped that all of this was placed over some of the best composition I had heard in the newer wave of progressive metal at that point. I was captivated. I pre-ordered their debut record Grind the Ocean and while waiting for it’s release, watched every single teaser and recording video they posted in regards to it. Each one was more tantalizing than the last, peeling back the curtains on what was sure to be a classic. When I received the album, I was not disappointed in the least. I received the album just before leaving on an extended car ride from North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia, so it should be needless to say I spent a majority of my time in that car listening to the CD and absorbing every detail. From start to finish, this record brought record levels of heaviness while retaining striking beauty throughout. This led to Grind the Ocean becoming a personal favorite of mine and a unique piece of art that was the only of it’s kind that I could go to. I saw them on their first U.S. tour with Protest the Hero and Periphery and had all but one of the members sign my copy of the album. I knew that I had to come back and finish getting the bands signatures somehow.
When I heard the first single from Mouth of Swords, “Red Hatchet,” it felt like the first time all over again. It was a more upbeat, refined version of the band that I fell in love with. When the album came out, I listened to it front to back enjoying every track just as much as I did with Grind the Ocean. In my mind, they somehow did the unthinkable and topped their original masterpiece. Luckily, the band came back through with Protest the Hero, so I was able to finish getting their signatures on Grind the Ocean and was able to secure them on my copy of Mouth of Swords. After hearing the new material live, I was excited for the band to get back home and begin recording for their third full-length album. Sadly, we’ll probably never hear that album.
However, now is not the time to mourn the loss of something we never had, but celebrate the life the band did have. That life consists of two excellent records, a couple great tours and wonderful memories spread across countless loyal fans. As a parting thought, there is a line from “Red Hatchet” that always stuck with me. “If I’ve gained anything by damning myself I have nothing to fear.” This line is a modernized version of a quote from philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1943 play The Flies. The quote reads, “Fear? If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear.” In closing this chapter, it allows the members to explore new avenues and maybe find what they truly love doing. Though they’re “damning” themselves by ending this phase of their life and continuing onward, they have nothing to fear knowing that they’ve gained invaluable experiences that most people won’t get to have in their lifetimes and that they can look forward to more wonderful experiences venturing into other areas of their lives. The quote resonates loudly and with conviction and I know the members will go on to continue and do great things.
In closing, I would like to echo a phrase that the band would use fondly and frequently. They had celebrities, musicians and their fans say it many times and it seems like the only proper way to send the band off into the musical afterlife. We bow our heads and declare with our hands raised to the sky in celebration of a life well lived, “Fuck The Safety Fire.”