Album Review: Firewind – Firewind

Album Review: Firewind - Firewind

Album Review: Firewind - Firewind
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

It’s been 22 years since Gus G formed Firewind. Initially to showcase his demo ‘Nocturnal Symphony’, the Greek guitarist is probably still more widely known as guitarist for a certain Ozzy Osbourne, appearing on the 2010 album ‘Scream’. With Firewind, Gus G has released eight studio albums, the last one being 2017’s ‘Immortals’. Firewind’s musical style is very much in the melodic metal style, driving drums and bass and shredding guitar work. The key to any band is the vocal delivery and this is where Firewind’s biggest challenge lies. Over the 22 years they have had a regular turnover of vocalists, with Apollo Papanathasio the most recognisable during his seven-year stint with the band (2006-13). On 2017’s ‘Immortals’, Firewind introduced Henning Basse, but three years on and Basse has departed, alongside long time guitar/keyboard player Bob Katsionis. Enter Herbie Langhans, vocalist with Sinbreed and Avantasia, to name but two.

Album Review: Firewind - Firewind

‘Firewind’ opens with a blistering duo, the racing ‘Welcome To the Empire’ followed by ‘Devour’. Immediate impressions are good. The two tracks thunder along, Langhans performance strong with his melodic but gravelly rasp fitting the songs well. G as usual is in full flight, shredding for fun with his usual fluent explosive style. ‘Rising Fire’ is the first weakness to note, a rather ordinary track which doesn’t really do much. And from here on, it’s the challenge to maintain interest, which is something I rarely write. ‘Break Away’ is a solid, pulsating metal track, with loads of virtuoso playing but it’s nothing that really gets the pulse racing. Maybe it’s me, but 80s power metal which is where much of this album’s roots lie, needs to be exceptional for me to get excited. ‘Orbitual Sunrise’ plods along, the banks of lush keyboards adding a velvet backing, yet there is nothing that screams out “this is fresh and exciting”.

This is the kind of music that I’d describe as European metal. It’s a little mundane and pedestrian, despite the flashes of flare which occasionally ignite. The odd glimpse of genius doesn’t include ‘Longing to Know You’ a ghastly ballad which is as formulaic as the rest of the album. Several plays fail to rectify it and it’s the skip track of the album. It improves slightly on ‘Perfect Strangers’ and ‘Overdrive’, although these are still the type of mediocre tracks that Dio delivered in the 90s (Yes, Dio made some really dull music – get over it). Melody wise, there is enough here to enjoy, and I suppose, if you like metal that follows a standard blueprint, the closing duo of ‘Space Cowboy’ and the furious ‘Kill the Pain’ may excite. ‘Firewind’ isn’t a poor album. It’s well produced, the musicianship is tight, with the drumming of Johan Nunez and long serving bassist Petros Christopoulidis providing a consistent anchor. Overall, it’s just a little boring and with so much other music to absorb, it may be one that sits in the ‘maybe’ rather than the ‘must’ pile when it comes to new releases.


Firewinds self titled album is due for release via AFM Records on May 15th.

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