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Firewind/ Arsis/ White Wizzard/ Nightrage

Date: 10/12/11
Venue: Gramercy Theater, New York City
Reviewed By: Rich Catino


Unfortunately, a package tour like this I didn’t think would draw that big of a crowd in America, and from what I heard it didn’t. Tonight’s New York show was probably a little over a hundred people, and not that the bands weren’t good, it’s just the market. Americans are just either clueless or choose not to buy music from European and underground bands unless it’s a name that can be seen on a Hot Topic compilation, heard of Friday Night Rocks with Ed Trunk (which is a rarity because its mostly a retro show) or WDHA’s Metal Mania, Ozzfest, or the Mayhem festival, they have a small fanbase in the US. Same thing goes for Firewind as much as I like them. Really, Ozzy should treat Gus G (Ozzy’s current guitarist) like he does Zak Wylde and give Firewind the opening slot on his arena tour so they can earn the respect like Black Label Society (and they are soooo overrated) has. Because as we all know, Americans need to be told what they should listen to and what bands are "cool" to like. Unless it’s a retro band, it’s the only way to get large numbers in the US. I’m curious to see what happens when all the bands from the 70s and 80s retire. What are hard rock and listeners gonna do for concerts??? It’s a shame but I live in the country that can’t get past its past.

I could see why Nightrage are an acquired taste coming from the melodic death metal/metalcore sound, still, one of the better names. Old school traditional/New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is the way of Cali based White Wizzard and they should be earning more and more listeners by the day. Playing fast complex death metal, Arsis differ little from Nightrage in overall approach and offer no variety to the package but no shortage on ability. One, not two extreme bands is just enough and could have changed the attendance.

Firewind, along with Edguy, Hammerfall, Primal Fear, to the lesser known Wolf, are one of the leaders from the next generation of hard rock/heavy metal bands who should be opening for the likes of Ozzy, Metallica, Maiden, Motley Crue, Kiss, and Priest (speaking of, look how sad their bill is for the Epitaph tour… Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy? It should be called the retirees tour). Like I said, promoters, booking agents, record labels, whoever it may be in America do a horrible job of recognizing and supporting the future of real hard rock and heavy metal.

Gus with his fellow Greek countrymen kept their set upbeat and full of energy, opening with ‘Ark of Lies’ off their latest album "Days Of Defiance" followed later by the single ‘World On Fire’. Instrumental ‘SKG’ also off the new album, is another headbanger like the excellent ‘Fire And The Fury’ and is where Gus and fellow axeman/keyboard player Bob Katsionis get to wow the crowd and they sure do. I thought the set could have done without three speedy Euro-style power metal numbers, ‘Heading For The Dawn’ off the new album makes sense but I think ‘Between Heaven and Hell’ (off their debut of the same title) or ‘Warrior’ are much better choices than ‘Destination Forever’, take out ‘Till The End Of Time’ and put back in ‘Allegiance’ or ‘Insanity’. ‘Kill To Live’ was such a great choice off “Forged In Fire” instead of ‘Tyranny’ which I always thought wasn’t that good, too much Kiss in the opening, and “The Premonition” album was represented by four cuts including the singles ‘Mercenary Man’ and ‘Head Up High’ where Gus and Bob get more time to show off on the keyboard and guitar in nice solo trade-offs. Good stuff. ‘I Am The Anger’ and more so set closer ‘Falling To Pieces’ have become anthems and received solid crowd participation for the chorus.

I’m looking forward to their return but when they do Firewind really would benefit by opening for a bigger name or getting in on a strong package.


The Ark Of Lies
Head Up High
Destination Forever
Kill to Live
Angels Forgive Me
The Fire and the Fury
World on Fire
Heading For the Dawn
Mercenary Man
Till the End of Time
I Am The Anger
Into the Fire
Falling To Pieces

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