From the land of the legendary Mount Olympos I am honoured to present a fantastic band called FIREWIND who in my own humble opinion have delivered one of the best Power Metal acts of the year with their newest album “Allegiance”. Some of you might already know that it is a band around guitarist Gus G., who also played in bands like DREAM EVIL, MSYSTIC PROPHECY or NIGHTRAGE and last year he has also been invited to play a few gigs with ARCH ENEMY as well. I stumbled upon him for the first time at DREAM EVIL and was pleased by the guitar-work performed there. Well, FIREWIND acts in the same spheres too, maybe not always that powerful, but that is not to be taken as a minus point.
There are two new guys on board in comparison to their former (third) release. First there is Mark Cross, a drummer who has also played with HELLOWEEN and METALIUM and then the new vocalist Apollo Papathanasio who you could have already heard (and seen) with bands like MAJESTIC, MEDUSA, EVIL MASQUERADE or TIME REQUIEM. If there is still somebody among you who does not know him, well then it’s really high time, cause the performance he delivers on this album is really amazing. Sometimes he reminds me of the NARNIA vocalist Christian Rivel, but Apollo has more variety and more power to offer.
The production of the record is a flawless one. They have dwelled in the Fredman Studios of Fredrik Nordström, where Gus G. already recorded the DREAM EVIL albums as well, and the mastering was made at Betous Tailor Made Productions, where albums from bands like DARK TRANQUILLITY or MESHUGGAH have been given that certain final touch.
What came out is Power Metal of the best kind, where thanks to the already mentioned fabulous production every single instrument can be heard, and it is good so, cause every instrument deserves to be heard on this record, all of them offering something special. And together a varied album, where it is really hard to stick to a favorite track, cause it is instantly blown away by the following one. Maybe the one that should be mentioned anyway is the one called “Breaking The Silence”, cause here Apollo duets with a lady called Tara, and even if (as far as I know) she is not really into this genre, the performance is top-notch.
FIREWIND sound really convincing with this record, and the songs really stick to your ears. Very cool chorus parts, very apt riffs and melody lines from the master Gus G. High class musicians are at work here, and they are really proving their potential, no matter if in Metal hymns like “Ready To Strike”, which reminds me a bit of WHITESNAKE, or instrumental ones like “Before The Storm” everything fits like a glove. If you like powerful and melodic Metal, then you cannot be wrong with this album! Master class!!
(Online December 21, 2006)