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Man On Fire

Eclectic Prog

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Man On Fire Habitat album cover
3.64 | 40 ratings | 12 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Block (5:37)
2. Mr. Lie (5:50)
3. Majestic (4:35)
4. Beast Inside (5:27)
5. Street Game (5:29)
6. What the Canvas Hides (5:16)
7. Might Is Right (4:56)
8. Curtain Call (6:14)
9. Shelter (4:09)
10. Love Never Lost (6:14)
11. Broken (6:27)
12. Habitat (8:15)

Total Time 68:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Hodges / vocals, keyboards, samples, loops
- Adrian Belew / guitars
- Eric Sands / fretless & fretted bass, 7-string guitar
- David Ragsdale / violin
- Rob Sindon / drums & percussion
- Steve Carroll / lyrics

Releases information

CD ProgRock Reocrds

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to htckgl for the last updates
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Buy MAN ON FIRE Habitat Music

MAN ON FIRE Habitat ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAN ON FIRE Habitat reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by sleeper
3 stars With Habitat, Man On Fire have produced a very melodic and easy to listen to album that should at least garner some interest from the fans of many different sub-genres of prog. This is actually the first album that Man On Fire has produced with a full band, spearheaded by Jeff Hodges (keyboards, vocals) and Eric Sands (fretted and fretless basses, 7 string guitar) and features Adrian Belew, of King Crimson fame, on guitars and David Ragsdale of Kansas on violin along with Rob Sindon on drums. Habitat is a concept album, of sorts, that, rather than have an underlying story behind it, follows 11 different characters (1 per song) that all live in the same city, their habitat.

The term "prog light" is probably a very good way to describe this band as the music they play gets very close to being pop on this album. Most of the songs here are fairly short (being generally in the 5-6 minute region) and short on complexity, but not lacking in providing interesting music. You wont, for instance, find many complex time signatures, or many changes mid-song of time signature either, but what you will find is a very well thought out, concise and coherent album that makes for very easy, and pleasant, listening.

As previously mentioned, this is a concept album that tells the stories of several people that inhabit a city. The lyrics convey the lives, thoughts and feelings of numerous characters thoughtfully without ever being, what you might call, deep, but being more observant of the people here. This is probably a good thing as it keeps it in tune with the style of the music, not overly complex, but not too simple either. The music is, as you would imagine with some of the members involved, extremely well executed to support the story of the album, were everything works together very well. There are few solos here with the music preferring to keep to a strong, sometimes shifting melody, allowing to keep the songs short and coherent.

However, this album does nothing that can be remotely called spectacular. In the same way that I find it hard to believe that there is going to be many people that find this album bad, I find it hard to believe that many people would consider this an excellent album. The mood of the album stays pretty much consistent throughout and the musicianship, though consistent, doesn't really grab your attention. I suppose that its fitting, then, that the singer is best described as competent. He can certainly sing but, as with everything else on this album, he doesn't really inspire any fervour.

Habitat is a competent album, something that just about anyone can enjoy when listening to it, but, like pop music, it can quite easily slip into the background unnoticed. An album that hasn't really got anything going for it but neither does it have any major problems. A distinctly average album that is probably worth listening too, but will probably be easily forgotten.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars An easy to approach, easy to enjoy bit of clever songs and performances that mixes numerous styles and tones to create a crisp total package. "Habitat" has a little something for everyone, the tunes being poppy enough for the masses but layered and smart enough for the connoisseur to enjoy-- no small feat. Hodges vocals are bright and infectious while his many samples and key effects bring a classy palette for Belew's distinct guitar and Ragsdale violin (a great choice of instrument for these songs); sing alongs and soundscapes abound (mostly sing alongs though).

While undeniably enjoyable, "Habitat" breaks little new ground conceptually and makes few significant impressions by the time it's done. The concept is solid enough, but could have been told without the cheesy voice/sound effect drama between songs. The album may not knock you off your feet, but as the weeks go by and you spin it again on a whim you'll be glad you did.

Recommended for fans of melodies or those seeking a fresh voice.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This third release by US-band Man on Fire is a really good one; as long as you are able to appreciate their chosen sound.

Although venturing out to progressive rock in many ways, with multi-layered complex soundscapes as a key dominant feature, the band also have many elements of pop sensibility. Relatively straight forward song structures, a prominent fretless bass sound with just as much pop as jazz tinge to it, extensive use of synths, loops and samples, melodic choruses with a high singalong feel, and a very slick production giving it all a teflon sound you might expect in a chart topping Billboard act. There's great work done here by the band itself as well as guest musicians Belew and Ragsdale though, and many strong tunes in this bands slightly unique art rock approach.

People into melodic and atmospheric music might want to check this one out, and people listening to electronica, pop and rock should be the ones getting the most out of this release.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is American band MAN ON FIRE's third studio album. They've scored a couple of special guests in Adrian Belew (KING CRIMSON) and David Ragsdale (KANSAS). Maybe it's just me but I think this record would sound better without Ragsdale's contributions because the violin parts are so boring, nothing like his seventies KANSAS days that's for sure. This is a concept album that runs almost 69 minutes. Lots of samples on this album mostly to start or end a track.

"The Block" is a song I was already familiar with from a sampler cd I think. It really gives you a clear picture of the band's sound if you've heard it before although this song is clearly a top two track on here. Lots of energy and very expressive. The samples are kind of cool as the first track ends with street noise, sirens and a dog barking. I'm not going to go through each track but one other song that I like as much as the first one if not more is "Broken". A door opens to start then the music comes in. Synths are spacey and there's a beat. Violin before the vocals arrive. Just a great sounding track.

Unfortunately for my tastes there are too few of these moments let alone songs, so 3 stars feels right to me.

Latest members reviews

5 stars What's with the 2 and 3 star reviews for this release? Did we listen to the same CD? 6 years after its release and I still consider "Habitat" to be one the real high points of the last decade of prog. While there are definitely hooks galore, it never ceases to be anything less than grade A q ... (read more)

Report this review (#503904) | Posted by Jonda Thorn | Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've got to admit, I considered the idea of Man on Fire surpassing their previous release, "The Undefined Design", to be an almost impossible goal. When I ordered "Habitat" I expected it to be good, but never expected to be blown away like I have been. Unlike the reviews posted here, I was hoo ... (read more)

Report this review (#52358) | Posted by | Wednesday, October 19, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Somehow I anticipated great things with this album.....and I have to say......WHAT A HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT. I have so many issues with this album......starting with the whole CONCEPT. It's been done, and much better I might add. ACT's album "Last Epic" was about a building and all its inhabit ... (read more)

Report this review (#51561) | Posted by DaveFman | Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Man on Fire" has the ingredients of a masterpiece of progressive music and is and excellent addition to my progressive music collection on my iPod! I have been working out to it and listening to it has increased my production in cranking out evening e-mails! I love "Mr. Lie"! It sums up la ... (read more)

Report this review (#40662) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Absolutely a keeper. The music is beautifully layered and the story/concept hepls draws the listener into "The Block". Much of the album gives a Rush or Kansas feel which, in my humble opinion, can never be listed as a bad thing. I have probably listened through the CD 20+ times and seem to ... (read more)

Report this review (#34941) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am an old man on fire. My first transistor radio was in 1957 and the rock and roll station was daylight only. I am old school and have no multiple CD changer in my vehicle so I listen to the same CD for days at a time. Habitat is still in the player... can you wear those things out? What a p ... (read more)

Report this review (#34940) | Posted by | Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I feel compelled to add onto Mr Eacho's review. Habitat is clearly a modern day classic in the making. It reminds me of when I first bought Caress of Steel (Rush), Magnum Opus (Kansas), Dont Look Back (Boston) or even Alive! (PJam). EVERY song has hidden layers of musical interplay that are s ... (read more)

Report this review (#34939) | Posted by | Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've had Man on Fire's new release "Habitat" for only a couple of days and I am still letting it all sink in. Habitat, like all great works, takes repeat listens to fully blossom on you. There are plenty of initial hooks to bring you in ("The Block", "Mr. Lie", "What the Canvas Hides", "Curt ... (read more)

Report this review (#34938) | Posted by | Friday, May 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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