FIREWIND - Firewind
May 6, 2020, 6 months ago
Been a supporter of Gus since day one, bought the debut Firewind album in 2002, and foresaw in my heavy metal crystal ball when rumors started about who Ozzy’s new guitarist would be it was him. This self-titled ninth album sees another change in the lineup; singer Henning Basse replaced by Herbie Langhans (Avantasia), while long time keyboards/ rhythm guitarist Bob Katsionis has left. How has this changed the chemistry, anything different in the music? Well, with Gus the primary writer the songs still are delivered like previous Firewind album: a great mix of power and traditional metal, ballad here and there, an instrumental, and lots of melody and hooks. The real change is in the vocals, Herbie’s tone and texture similar to Stephen Fredrick who sang on the first two albums, and from single “Rising Fire”, even with Gus’ riffing, this album feels like Burning Earth. Same with “Devour” and the raging power.
“Welcome To The Empire” launches with a heavy riff, aggressive attack, and big chorus. Keyboards are a nice subtle accent in “Break Away” where Herbie reminds me Jorn Lande, great lead runs in the solo section. A direct simple focus to “Orbitual Sunrise” is punchy where the vocals get to breath. Again, nice melodic solo. Big vocals, ‘all these stars shine for you, sending out my love’ in the hook for “Longing To Know You” a well-crafted ‘80s power ballad. More a contemporary groove arrangement for “Perfect Strangers”, yet “Overdrive” follows and is so classic Dio how the keyboards compliment the traditional guitar into the chorus section. Riff and melodic lead on “Space Cowboy” is very '80s Scorpions and album closes heavy on “Kill The Pain”.