Firewind - Immortals review
|Release date:||January 2017|
01. Hands Of Time
02. We Defy
03. Ode To Leonidas
04. Back On The Throne
05. Live And Die By The Sword
06. Wars Of Ages
07. Lady Of 1000 Sorrows
09. Warriors And Saints
10. Rise From The Ashes
Spartaaaa!! After a five-year hiatus, The Greek powerhouse that is Firewind is back in full force with a power metal concept album about the Battle of Thermopylae and Salamis in 480 BC during the second Persian invasion of Greece. Look it up, it's fascinating and a few movies were made about it. Or so I heard. That is it for the history lesson. As the musicians have been busy with other projects during the hiatus Immortals feels like a grand rebirth of Firewind. Most notably guitarist Gus G released two solo albums and joined Ozzy Osbourne.
Perfectly balancing the epic and the powerful, Firewind continues to impress in a register halfway between Stratovarius and Symphony X. My first impressions were that the songwriting had matured, leaving the songs more room to grow rather than being shoved down your throat with technical abilities. Somehow they found a way to display all their talent without overwhelming the tracks. The fact that Dennis Ward, who produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album, also co-wrote it with Gus G must have something to do with it.
Mastermind and guitar prodigy Gus G delivers the goods hand over fist. The riffing is memorable and the solos truly incisive and stylish. Bob Katsionis provides the perfect atmospheres and regulates the tempo, seemingly reining in some of the songs before they veer off their path. Overall, there is a controlled balance to the whole thing that impresses me tremendously for a power metal band.
One key lineup change should be mentioned. The band has gained a singer who adds tonicity to the songs with a classic hard rock edge. Henning Basse (ex-Metalium), who closely collaborated with Gus G during his solo career, is assuming the main vocal duties. His style fits right in and is also not dissimilar to the band's iconic singer Apollo Papathanasio. Henning shines on the more aggressive songs such as "We Defy" and "Live and Die by the Sword" as well as on the mid-tempo rock ballad "Lady Of (a) 1000 Sorrows".
By now if you're thinking that this album is clearly an attempt to recapture the magic of their earlier masterpiece The Premonition, you are correct. Immortals may only be 44 minutes long but it is an intense and true return to form for a band that needs to be recognized for their overall contribution to the power metal genre. Firewind has issued a statement of intent with this album. This is a monolith of epic metal done expertly and showcasing mature songwriting. Come and take it.
Written on 15.01.2017 by
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