Let's not beat around the bush. Despite a valiant effort at bringing thrash back to the masses, Fueled by Fire just aren't the ones to do the job. It's a tall order - there'll always be the diehards (mostly in their late thirties) that will buy pretty much anything remotely thrash related. This album is for them. The albums that pay homage to the genre by breathing new life into it - those are the ones that all the hip kids get into, like (granted, on more of the old-school D.R.I. tip) Cross Examination's Hung Jury.
Spread the Fire isn't a bad album per say, but for those familiar with their history, there's absolutely nothing on here that hasn't been done already by the likes of Testament and Death Angel. With that said, the album is pure unadulterated Westcoast thrash that will probably only have stamina for those unfamiliar with the bands I've just named. To get even more specific, imagine an album created by Testament before they became the skilled musicians heard on The New Order or Practice What You Preach, without Chuck Billy but with vocals being traded off by Mark Osegueda and Steve "Zetro" Souza. Evolution may be on the horizon, however, as the band is now looking for a new vocalist, with original singer Gio, having recently quit the band.
The songs are delivered with a raw execution but ultimately are unmemorable. This goes for the riffs and the lyrics, which are almost embarrassing in their simplicity and lack of self-awareness - We'll kick your ass, we'll show who we are and don't you forget! Spread The Fire!. The same goes for the song titles: "Striking Death," "Thrash is Back," "Metal Forever" and so on.
This isn't 1985; people just don't go for this shit anymore. In this day and age, irony needs to be avoided at all costs - maintain the ubiquitous winking eye at all costs or you don't stand a chance. Not taking yourself seriously will only damage your credibility if you suck. Embrace the mullet, embrace the leather, and embrace the dumb. Making sure to smirk while you do it makes all the difference. Just ask Municipal Waste. They'll tell you how to make it work.