Gritty, crunchy, bombastic, and completely over-the-top
Allan Jones went toe to toe with Power Metal firebrands’ Firewind, helping take the fight to the Persian scum following the release of Immortals, via AFM Records, on 20 January, 2017
The thing you have to understand about Firewind is that they began as a way of Greek guitar god Konstantinos Karamitroudis (or Gus G, as he’s usually known) showing off his guitar chops. Eight albums later, Gus G is Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist and has offered up a number of solo albums, so it has more than served its purpose.
The thing is, though, Firewind are still going and still offer up some properly heavy Power Metal with a tangible Greek influence. This one, for example, is a concept album focusing on the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis – which most of us will know from the movie ‘300’. Hell, any band who can sing an ‘Ode to Leonidas’ with a straight face deserves recognition as far as I’m concerned, especially with the little spoken-word elements that really do elevate it above the other tracks on the album and turn it into pure theatre.
This time out, long-serving vocalist Apollo Papathanasio has been replaced with Henning Basse – and a fine job he does, too, adding a rumbling depth and power to proceedings. There’s plenty of fist-pumping bravado in the vocals to match up to the furious flurry of guitar work that is par for the course with a Firewind album. It’s fast and fun, and pretty much exactly what you’d ask of a power metal album, even down to the harmonised ‘wo-o-oah’ vocals scattered throughout. It’s gritty, crunchy, bombastic, and completely over-the-top in a way that only true warriors of metal like Firewind can really get away with.
The best thing, though, is that it’s not all about the guitars or the wailing vocals calling us to join them in battle against the Persian scum – the keyboard work of Bob Katsionis really does deserve a special mention, too, with some utterly fantastic playing holding things together with some glorious melodic work and harmonisation. The rhythm section, too, is as monstrous and heavy and hard hitting as ever.
But it’s the way that all of the elements just unify and come together that pretty much make you want to put on a cape and loincloth and stand and scream your defiance in the face of the invading armies. Well, that could just be me. My drinking horn was full before I started listening to this album, and now it’s empty, so I’m going to fill it back up and put the album on again because sometimes power metal is the only answer, no matter what the question actually was.
8 out of 10
- Hands Of Time
- We Defy
- Ode To Leonidas
- Back On The Throne
- Live And Die By The Sword
- Wars Of Ages
- Lady Of 1000 Sorrows
- Warriors And Saints
- Rise From The Ashes