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Firewind – The Premonition

Label: Century Media
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
I had a premonition when I first heard Firewind. That Gus G was to become one of the great guitarists of our day and would make Firewind a great band… and how right I was!

It was a smart move when Gus decided to leave Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy and Nightrage to focus solely on his baby Firewind. Since the band’s debut in 2002 the Greek native has been saying that Firewind was where his heart lied and after their fourth release “Allegiance” it was evident all along he was working towards Firewind’s identity.

“Allegiance” was excellent, full of strong melodic hard rock/metal tunes that could appeal to fans of the 80’s and bands like the Scorpions, Dokken and Whitesnake to 90’s Euro Power Metal greats Gamma Ray, Edguy, and Hammerfall.

If you missed out the first time around I suggest you go back and listen to the singles “Falling to Pieces” and ‘Breaking the Silence”. I bet those hooks will snag you faster than a pro fisherman on his best day at sea.

“The Premonition” thankfully sees Gus keeping his lineup in tact from “Allegiance” with Apollo Papathanasio as the voice, Petros Christo on bass, Bob Katsionis handling keyboards & guitars, and Mark Cross on drums. I am happy to make note that Firewind over the course of the last two albums have now established their sound. The first three “Between Heaven And Hell”, “Burning Earth”, and “Forged By Fire” all had their strong points and several really good songs, but inconsistent beginning to end.

On “The Premonition”, first single/video “Mercenary Man” and what I feel should be the follow up ‘Head Up High”, build on the strengths of “Allegiance’s first single “Falling to Pieces” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kg7TNFqG2o ). That being memorable riffs and leads, a catchy chorus, and a well arranged song. Simple as that. No bells and whistles.

Other rockers with an easy to remember riff and melody include “Circle of Life” and “Angels Forgive Me” with properly placed keys. “Remembered” and “The Silent Code” maybe sees Gus incorporating some influence from his time with Arch Enemy which works. “Remembered’” out of the door has more aggressive riffing and “Code” begins with Amott Bros (Arch Enemy’s guitarists) like twin leads which carry though out the track. Fear not, Apollo’s excellent voice is still at the helm always. Gus also does some really nice complimenting lead work here but then again, when doesn’t he? He just knows how to play for the song and not for the sake of just playing fast or fancy.

Included is a very well done faithful cover of Michael Sembello’s 80’s hit “Maniac”. The arrangement stays very true to the original and again Gus does an excellent job with the solo, one which I’m sure will please you George Lynch (Dokken axe man) lovers.

Firewind is now two for two in my book. Gus, you have a winning lineup and the formula, keep up the good work.

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