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Years since Carcass' Swan Song in 1996, founding guitarist Bill Steer returns with Firebird in late 2000, releasing a self-titled debut. Renowned for his pioneering efforts in grindcore and extreme metal, Steer takes a different route with Firebird, a blues-based three-piece with roots in late-'60s and early-'70s rock. Leo Smee of sludge-rockers Cathedral handles bass, and though he played on the group's debut, drummer Ludwig Witt of Spiritual Beggars was replaced by Tom Berman after Witt had difficulty balancing two bands. Steer also steps to the front as a vocalist, displaying a considerable ability that fits perfectly with Firebird's jam-rock ambitions. ~ Matthew Kantor