It’s been 3 years since ‘Immortals’, the previous album from Firewind, but May 2020 will see the release of ‘Firewind’, the self-titled, latest offering from the Greek power metal outfit.
In the words of band leader and gifted guitarist Gus G “This album is a re-boot or a re-start for Firewind. We are continuing as a four piece as of this record, which goes back to the first 2 records. Stylistically wise we have kept the best elements of Firewind, but we have broadened our sound this time around”.
With different tempos and different vibes throughout the record alongside the signature big melodies, big guitars and big choruses of Firewind, there is plenty to listen out for.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iEZGCcy31s?start=1&w=560&h=315]
The album opens with a sense of calm and an acoustic guitar, which soon gives way to the frenetic pace of ‘Welcome To The Empire’ where we are given our first treat of Gus G’s mesmerising guitar work, which is followed by ‘Devour Us’, both of which will keep the fans happy as these really are your typical Firewind tracks.
The guitar on both tracks is complimented superbly by new vocalist Herbie Langhans who has stepped up to the challenge and turns in an amazing performance.
The pace continues with the lead single from the album, ‘Rising Fire’ which allows Jo Nunez to come to the fore with a blistering drum attack matching Gus G throughout this near 5 minute epic. There have been personnel changes throughout the history of Firewind, but you would be hard pressed to spot them here, as this is as good-a-slab of Melodic Metal as I have heard in a while.
‘Break Away’ allows Gus G to throw in some riffs and hooks to great effect whilst allowing Langhans to show us why he was given the job of bringing the lyrics to life, which he does to great effect here, soaring over the grinding guitars and that pounding beat.
‘Orbitual Sunrise’ is the first of three tracks on the album connected through their lyrics (the other two being ‘Longing to Know You’ and ‘Space Cowboy’), which centre on the overexploitation of nature seen through the eyes of a lonely astronaut, orbiting earth in his space capsule. The track has Iron Maiden-esque riffs backed up by that big Firewind melody and power vocals from Langhans.
The theme continues, but the mood is slowed down as we move into the ballad, ‘Longing To Know You’ and this is where the band show off how they have broadened their sound. The feel of the track is totally different to anything else on the record, yet it still contains all the signature pieces: excellent vocals, a big chorus, superb guitar work and a great melody.
We move into hard rock territory for ‘Perfect Stangers’ which is full of grinding riffs throughout, with a nice solo thrown in for good measure around 3 minutes and then onto ‘Overdrive’ with it’s Black Sabbath / Dio vibe with plenty of opportunities for fist pumping when the band finally get to play it live.
Both of these tracks move away from the faster power metal that Firewind have become known for and show how even a band 22 years into their career can keep developing their sound.
We move back to familiar territory with ‘All My Life’ with thumping drums, big riffs and that driving power metal vibe throughout with Langhans proving that he has slotted into the front man role perfectly. Firewind have always prided themselves on strong vocalists and in Langhan, they have found the latest in that line.
Space Cowboy’ continues the tempo with it’s grinding guitars before ‘Kill the Pain’ gives us a big finale with a head banging foot stomping track, that allows each of the band to really pull out all of the stops and leave us wanting more.
This is an album that will keep existing Firewind fans happy and should win them some new ones too. The quality of Gus G’s playing is never in doubt, Langhans will have no problem convincing the fans, as he is a quality addition to the line up and Christo & Nunez provide a well balanced rhythm section that provides the band with a solid foundation.
‘Firewind’ is released on 15 May 2020
Album track list:
- Welcome To The Empire
- Rising Fire
- Break Away
- Orbitual Sunrise
- Longing To Know You
- Perfect Stranger
- All My Life
- Space Cowboy
- Kill The Pain
Gus G.- Guitars
Herbie Langhans – Vocals
Petros Christo – Bass
Jo Nunez – Drums
Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw for MPM