In the decade since the group began as a project for chief guitarist Kostas Karamitroudis or, as fans will know him, Gus G, European heavy metal has stuck by its roots and delivered what its fans enjoy. Whether it be Nordic brutality or Finnish goth metal, each purveyor of the genre has time and time again produced an album not dissimilar to its predecessor, and have enjoyed warm success in their home country. Firewind are no exception to this rule, creating six albums of unrelenting power metal over the course of their career and that’s fine because they do it just as well as any other.
Take ‘The Undying Fire’, a punishing mix of gritty riffs and vocalist (their fourth over their time) Apollo Papathanasio‘s operatic like performance is a page out of the power metal book if there ever was one. Yet, if this is your kind of deal, then it’s more than enjoyable, perplexing solos and anthemic melody all included.
Where the five-piece from Thessaloniki do prosper is from delving into other pieces of history; 80s hard rock ala GNR for example. Glorious delves further back, the chorus a pompous glam rock punch that Alice Cooper wouldn’t leave on the table followed hastily by a dirty procession of riffage. Not to leave their home continent behind in the dust, an appearance from popular Finnish orchestral rock group Apocalyptica on the epic ballad ‘Edge Of A Dream’ melds American rock influence with their power metal style.
You feel this exposure to other sub-genres that moulds ‘Few Against Many’ is the band’s effort at appealing to more than the power metal community. For all it’s worth, they don’t do a bad job of it either. ‘Another Dimension’ will carry the flag into the ears of an American audience, perhaps the strongest track on the album; the mixing of speed shredding and the almost atmospheric prog of which Dream Theatre have pushed out the last two decades will appeal greatly to the passionate metal follower.
This album was never going to be genre defying classic, but not everything will be. Firewind have produced an album of polished tight quality, showing the anthemic, melodic division of metal. It’s doubtful this record will appeal to anyone outside of a metal demographic, yet ones that are have a lot to enjoy on what it’s the band’s seventh album.
Written by Ross Jones