A solemn tale retold.
The tragedy of war is not lost on us Aussies. As we commemorate this ANZAC day, music can sometimes offer us a deeply personal way to reflect on our history and relationship with wars both past and present. The classic war ballad has been a staple for decades, and ‘The Firing Line’, a seven-minute lament from Melbourne blues-rock band Finn, is a welcome addition to the legacy.
The story told here is one of sorrow and regret, delivered from the perspective of a young soldier enlisted to fight on the European front in the First World War. The narrative beats are all too familiar, the common threads are tragic knowing the amount of young soldiers who shared these experiences. Falling for the propaganda to fight for king and country, before ultimately being put through hell at the mercy of out of touch generals and dying alone far from home.
‘The Firing Line’s’ seven-minute runtime allows Finn to express this story completely uncompromised, going into graphic and emotional detail. Finn doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war, the ballad wears its politics on its sleeve. Some may find this confronting, but that’s entirely the point.
The song is slow, sombre and methodical. There aren’t any grandiose guitar riffs or massive vocal leaps, this isn’t a power ballad, it’s a tragedy. ‘The Firing Line’ is reminiscent of wartime poems found in the journals of the fallen, the focus is unequivocally lyrical. With that said, the instrumentation is tasteful, with great attention to detail and opportunities for player expression.
The snare rolls evoking marching drums in the intro are a nice touch and the guitar and piano solos in the outro make for a harrowing finale. Where Finn could have risked compromising the track with extravagance and big dynamic shifts, their instrumental restraint showcases the deliberateness of this track and a dedication to tone.
‘The Firing Line’, is one of thirteen tracks in Finn’s upcoming album Stonewalling, set to release very soon.