Firewind, the kings of Greek melodic power metal with guitar phenom Gus G. at the helm, make their comeback with their eighth album, Immortals. The album reunites the band with vocalist Henning Basse (ex Metalium, Sons Of Seasons) who filled in for 2007 Allegiance tour. Additionally, this album finds Firewind working with outside producer, the generally genius Dennis Ward, who also helped to co-write the album with Gus. Immortals is also the first concept album for the band. It explores a subject of history familiar to Greeks, and often covered by other Greek metal bands, the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis in 480 BC during the second Persian invasion of Greece.
So what lies within Immortals? Largely epic and ambitious premium melodic power metal lit up by Gus G.'s enormous riffage and blazing solos. He's easily one of my favorite metal guitarists, simply because creates with melody and harmony in his riffs, lines, and leads. Additionally, Gus is not necessarily the typical guitar wizard, lying down oodles of neo-classical widdling. No, while he can do that, his leads are more varied ranging from rock to metal stylings.
Otherwise, the songs within are headlong rushes of gallop, putting the racing speed into Firewind's power metal. Additionally, long serving keyboardist Bob Katsionis returns to add some synth sparkle and atmosphere, yet also dueling with Gus G. in solos. Having a bit of Bryan Adams coarseness in his voice, Basse still sings melodic, easily swinging from rock to metal style. He's assertive, but always in control.
To mention just a few songs, for pure bombastic and racing power, you have it at the start with Hands Of Time and We Defy, but also later with Warriors and Saints. But also expect some variation and intrigue like powerful synth start of Back On The Throne, before the power metal begins with a rush of riffage. Another is Live and Die By Sword, where acoustic guitar and light vocals begin the song, again, before steering to the gallop. Similar is the metal anthem Lady Of 1000 Sorrows, having a sweet start lead by both light guitar and synths, and Basse showing some gentleness in his voice. The song swells and rises within to a crescendo and offers a memorable chorus.
Essentially, as said at the start, Immortals is classic Firewind: epic, bombastic, and damn entertaining melodic power metal. Welcome back. Easily recommended.
Essentially, Immortals is classic Firewind: epic, bombastic, and damn entertaining melodic power metal. Welcome back. Easily recommended.
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