Firewind return once again after 2 years gap from their most "policed" album called "The Premonition". Here the band is back at their original roots with raw sound and an album filled up with Power Metal songs. Finally the band's line-up has changed slightly, as we have the addition of Michael Ehre (Metalium) behind the drum kit and he brought a breath of fresh Power metal direction to the band without losing their distinctive sound. Without further due the review has a following:
Ark Of Lies: The album opens with the same way as the "The Premonition" album did. That is with the use of a classical guitar. Within 30 seconds the song has exploded to a pure Power Metal song. Gus G. plays this amazing guitar riff and Apollo does a great scream. The song is straight forward, 100% pure Power Metal and it features an amazing guitar solo by the one and only Gus G.
World On Fire: This was made available for digital download from iTunes ont eh 17th of August.. This song "World On Fire" is pure Power Metal, straight in your face melodies. It features the typical Firewind signature: back-up vocals, keyboards, fast drumming and Apollo doing a fantastic job. As for Gus G. well he is doing a fantastic job, as he plays faster than any other Firewind songs, fast riffs and his guitar solo for this song will leave everyone speechless.
Chariot: This opens with a great guitar riff by Gus and then it gets back to the typical Firewind sound but slightly more towards the progressive side of Power metal. The song features a catchy chorus. Apollo does a great with the vocals as he hit higher notes with his voice. Towards the end we have the great duet job between Gus and Bob playing the same riff together and then the song finishes with a similar it started.
Embrace The Sun: Here the albums gets slightly more Melodic without losing the Power Metal edge. The band does a fantastic job with this song as all the elements for its creation fits together without any problems. Pay attention at the chorus of the song, at the guitar solo and also at the keyboard melodies by Bob that puts the finishing touches here and there at this great song
The Departure (intro)/ Heading For the Dawn: Bob here (at the intro) creates this great atmosphere as it links to the "Heading For The Dawn". The guitar riff and the drumming patterns will make you do air guitar or air drumming instantly. This song keeps it's melodic and Power metal edge and there is a perfect change from type to the other. Finally the twin power of Gus and Bob strikes back with duet soloing, Gus makes a start then Bob takes after with faster solo and then Gus simply shreds his solo amazingly. After that the chorus of the song is repeated as the song reached its end.
Broken: This song has the combination of classical guitar (mellow) and at the chorus of it picks up with electric guitars etc... The song starts of with a classical guitar and it stays mellow. Apollo does a great job as with his voice as he puts a melancholic mood through. Bob puts the finishing touches to the song. When the song picks up is only during the chorus of the song "It's breaking my heart...". This song is great and something fresh for Firewind. The "risk" taken by the band was well worth it.
Cold As Ice: Another song that starts off with a classical guitar. Gus's playing here will leave you speechless even though that it is only for 20 seconds. Note that the band here has returned full on to their Power metal side. The song is straight forward, catchy guitar riffing and melodies. Simply here we have a typical Firewind song. The whole band is playing their socks off from start until finish.
Kill In The Name Of Love: Reading the title of this song I believed that it was going to be a ballad, well ... less say that I was totally wrong about it. The song starts by Bob and Michael showing their melodic side and then the song picks up slowly until it hits the unique Firewind sound. The song features great vocal performances, great soloing, keyboard and drumming that will make your jaw drop.
SKG: This one is the instrumental song of the album, simply just amazing. Here every single musician shines as they are showing off their abilities at a song that is 5 minutes and 21 seconds long. Once it is finished it will make you think "Wow man this it simply great", repeat will be followed instantly.
Losing Faith/ The Yearning: This songs are similar to each other as they are typical Firewind songs. Featuring great melodies by both Gus and Bob, amazing drum patterns and bass line by Michael and Petro. Finally as for Apollo well no words here will be enough.
When All Is Said And Done: This song is the final song that puts the end to a great Power metal album. This song features all the Firewind elements as they are mixed together and creates a great song. It features fast and slow performance by that I mean melodic parts and then pure Power metal elements.
This album is a great return for Firewind back to their Power Metal roots and more into the raw sound. Every single member has performed their role within each song perfectly by giving outstanding performances. As for Gus G. well this album features his best solos up to date that will leave every one speechless. If you are a Firewind fan, well you will have to buy this album. If you like Power metal and you want something new well here is a great album to start fresh. Simply just an outstanding album and "well done guys!".
Edited review; this is what I said a few days ago...
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album if you like powerful, melodic metal as purveyed by the groups you will see in the "customers also bought" list. My only, slight, gripe is that after listening to it a couple of times, there are no songs that have leapt out and grabbed me...yet. This may change with more listens but for this reason I prefer The Premonition to this for instant gratification. So if this fact would merit three stars for this album then I have to add another for the most intense and dazzling guitar work I've heard for a long time by Ozzie's new guitarist, Gus G. Whether shredding, manianical soloing or thoughtful acoustic work, the playing is superb. I'd love to give the album 5 stars but for all the excellence displayed instrumentally, and indeed vocally, I'm afraid that the "sameness" of some of the songs leaves me with no option to give it 4.
And I've listened to this a couple of more times and it DOES sink in, the tracks DO stick in the brain, and there IS enough variety if you give it a chance so I'm pleased to give this album 5 stars and recommend a "grower".
Quite a tough one to review to be honest. On the one hand Firewind sound very much like a Euro-Metal band with a fairly generic sound but on the other when you get below the outer layer you come across some outstanding riffs and crunching guitar solos. In fact all the musicians in this band appear to be superb with an ultra heavy sound and massive levels of skill. However the thing that lets them down is the singer who has a very nice clean voice. So nice he could be singing in a boy band or soloing as a crooner. That's not to say that he is bad - far from it he has an excellent voice but, if Firewind had a lead singer with a more distinctive sound then they could become a top act. This is ably noted when listening to SKG which has no singer. Fantastic and my favourite track. You can really appreciate just how heavy Firewind are and of course appreciate the brilliance that is Gus G who is certainly one of the best guitarists of this genre. I can certainly see why Ozzy nicked him for his last album.