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Firewind: The Premonition
Heavy/Power/Progressive Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

I'm a long time fan of Firewind, the band that heralds the exceptional guitar work of Gus G. I eagerly anticipated their new release, 'The Premonition,' after the phenomenal 'Allegiance,' a great metal album. But I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that Gus and company are in fine form once again. Gus G. kills on guitar and Apollo Papathanasio excels on vocals. The bad news is that 'The Premonition' is not 'Allegiance.' This work is heavier than their previous work, yet still is immensely melodic. There is less variation on this work than previously. This is not necessarily a bad thing, probably a mere progression. In the end 'The Premonition' is a very good album.

Do not mistake my previous caveats as a negative review of this album. 'The Premonition' is great metal, but must be listened to carefully and several times. I say this because I still had 'Allegiance' in my head. The more I listened to this new work the more satisfied I became. Foremost, the production is sterling and the musicianship beyond expectation, truly exceptional. And even though I said that this was heavy, the arrangements are both fiery and melodic. Frankly, in the end, 'The Premonition' grew on me. Yes, I'm happily satisfied. Listen to such songs as 'Angels Forgive Me, wow, incredible metal with fine vocal arrangements, 'Mercenary Man,' powerful and deliberate in its delivery, 'My Loneliness,' the closest thing to a ballad on the album and the nearest song to something from Allegiance,' anthem-like and strong, and also 'The Silent Code', an unexpected mixture of heavy metal and choral and vocal melody.

The most surprising track is the cover of 'Maniac,' yes, the song from 'Flashdance.' At first, my thoughts were, 'Holy crap! I can't believe my ears! Why this song? Was this really necessary?' But, damn, it sounds so good and it's a lot of fun. And I think the band, especially Gus G., had a lot of fun recording it.

Basically, with Firewind's new album, 'The Premonition,' do not expect what you heard on 'Allegiance.' However, expect great metal with great song arrangements and, of course, premier guitar work from Gus G. Good metal, good album. Very recommended!
  - Craig Hartranft

In Short

Firewind returns with a return to their metal roots. This is not 'Allegiance,' but do not be dismayed. Even though it's heavier, this is still great melodic metal. And you should add it to your list of 'must buy metal albums' this year.

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