Firewind – Firewind
1. Welcome to the Empire
Label: AFM Records
I was extremely delighted when I received Firewind’s new album “Firewind”, and since than, after thousands of spinning, I realized there is still not a word from my pen (keyboard). As a someone who is fallowing career of Gus G. for a long time, with few reviews and interview behind, I was wondering how should I start another one and not to repeat myself.
The new album brought some personal changes. Ok, vocal change, with no intention to sound offending, is kind of normal for Firewind and it did not surprised me at all. And it is the 6th change in 22 years long Firewind’s career. But, Bob Katsionis? I have always seen him and Gus as an inseparable whole. But, life goes on…
Hanning Basse was “replaced” by Herbie Langhans whose history is as rich as Gus’s. If I haven’t known that Herbie is the new Firewind’s singer, I could easily say: “How great it is Stephen Fredrick is back in game!” Similarity is either obvious, either I am deaf.
“Firewind” is the 9th album (10th if we count demo “Nocturnal Symphony”) that was released three years after concept album “Immortals”. I was a bit confused with an album title, cause there is unwritten rule: self titled album is a debut album.
In documentary movie “Life Through Fire”, Gus said: “I wanted my riffs heavy, but my solos always melodic. But I’d also love them to have aggression and nerve. “
Although the album meets all his criteria, “Firewind” is a bit heavier than I expected. Of course, addictive melodies, catchy choruses, strong lyrics. Apart from the very striking vocals I would single outthunderous drumming. Also, there is some nostalgic vibe. Song by song, blood pressure is rising, it seems each song is better than the previous one.
When you have talented, skilled musicians, passion, dedication, experience, when you are a workaholic, what is the chance of failure? Zero! I hear my generation lately discussing about metal: will there ever be a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica? My answer is: this is how heavy metal should sound in XXI century! Having the bands like Firewind, I am not afraid for the future of metal at all.
Weather Firewind goes in the direction of Speed/Power Metal (“Devour”), Hard/Heavy Rock (“Orbitual Sunrise”), Retro Rock (“Space Cowboy”) or the inevitable ballads (“Longing To Know You”), they deliver high quality “Sci-Fi story about the over exploitation of nature seen through the eyes of a lonely astronaut, orbiting earth in his space capsule”.
The fire and flame have always played a significant role in Gus’s life. So as this time. The element of fire is woven into the album cover.
With intention I avoided to mention Gus G.’s previous experience, we all know he has admiring CV behind, but it is time to accept him as an individual, one of the best guitarist from the end of the XX and the beginning of the XXI century.
Personal favorites: “Orbitual Sunrise”, “All My Life”, “Break Away”… Who am I kidding? Each song is the best one!