FIREWIND – Firewind (2020)
Melodic metal masters FIREWIND, the group led by guitar wizard and former OZZY OSBOURNE band member Gus G., are releasing their new album titled like the band, “Firewind“.
In the words of Gus G, “This album is a re-boot or a re-start for Firewind, hence the self-titled. We are continuing as a four piece as of this CD, 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 vibes throughout the record alongside the signature big melodies, big guitars and huge choruses of Firewind, there is plenty to listen out for.
The album opens up with ‘Welcome To The Empire’, which draws us in seductively thanks to a combination of acoustic guitars, atmospheric synths and then a lead guitar solo that picks up in pace as it develops. Then Herbie Langhans unleashes his gravelly and commanding voice. He adds a gritty element to the music, whilst being able to hit the higher notes, as the chorus ably demonstrates. Naturally, the song isn’t complete without a flamboyant, breakneck solo or two for good measure and as such, we’re off to a breathless start.
‘Rising Fire’ 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 Langhans show us why he was given the job of bringing the lyrics to life.
‘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 over-exploitation 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 its 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 metal that Firewind have become known for and show how even a band 22 years into their career can keep developing their sound.
This is an album that will keep existing Firewind fans happy and should win them some new ones too from other genres such as hard rock.
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 bass player Petros Christo & Nunez provide a well balanced rhythm with lots of variation.
It is often a positive sign when a band name an album after themselves. And in the case of ‘Firewind’, it just adds strength to this statement.
With its energy, passion, strong individual performances and quality songwriting, I am very much of the opinion that this could be the best that Firewind have sounded since ‘Burning Earth’ was released some seventeen years ago. As far as I’m concerned then, it’s a real triumph.
01. Welcome To The Empire
03. Rising Fire
04. Break Away
05. Orbitual Sunrise
06. Longing To Know You
07. Perfect Stranger
09. All My Life
10. Space Cowboy
11. Kill The Pain
Gus G. – Guitars, Keyboards
Herbie Langhans – Vocals
Petros Christo – Bass
Jo Nunez – Drums