Firewind – Firewind

Band: Firewind
Album: Firewind
Release Date: 15th May 2020
Record Label: AFM Records

I first heard of Firewind many years ago, perhaps 2010, when I saw Gus G perform with Ozzy Osbourne at OzzFest at the o2 Arena in London. I did a bit of research on Gus G as I was amazed at his guitar skills, and then saw Firewind themselves live at Download Festival in 2012 (how is that 8 years ago already!). I’ve been silly and not kept up with Firewind, but when I received the EPK for this album before its release, I knew I had to give it a listen, especially with the BIG power metal phase I’m going through right now!

Welcome To The Empire certainly has the feel of an opening track, with a slow buildup of the guitars, a brief pause, and then drums and sweeping guitar which is ripe for a nice bit of headbanging. The verses are heavy and chuggy, and the vocals are gritty and powerful. There is an epic guitar solo,which is pretty much obligatory for this kind of band. From the Firewind I have heard in the past, if you just got given this track, you would know it’s Firewind!

Devour starts hard and heavy, and an epic “DEVOUR!” to begin. This track begins to show more of the power metal vocal range of Herbie Langhans really begins to show. It’s a faster paced track that the opening, with a slower bridge, but back to full force when the track ends. It’s one of those tracks to get moving around, headbang until your neck feels sore, and throw those fists in the air at those held vocal notes.
I can see myself jumping around to Rising Fire and have a good old dance. It’s a good mid-pace with a bouncey rhythm and and a general good feel to it. It’s almost got an old school 80’s metal feel to it, I want to windmill my hair in the instrumental sections and headbang and jump in the verses and choruses. It’s a track that pumps me up with energy, even the bridge where it’s going to be obligatory to clap along to the bass notes.

Another fast paced track, Break Away, has a slightly more symphonic feel to the intro, but it’s still very much good old heavy metal. The verses strip down and slowly build up, again it’s another one to headbang to or raise your fist to. I can definitely imagine this live (maybe one day!) with the crowd shouting “Break Away!” back at the stage during the choruses. There’s even a guitar solo that really is solo, with nothing else to distract from the notes.
A galloping rhythm to the drums, Orbitual Sunrise has a slightly more mystical and mysterious feel with the choral drone just peeking through in the mix. There’s a change of pace during the song with a long instrumental section, leading back to galloping and a guitar solo.

Longing To Know You starts very ballad-like, a gentle swaying feels suitable for this one, it’s not quite a lighter/phone in the air situation. This track once again shows another dimension to Herbie’s voice. As the instrumental builds up throughout the song, there’s definitely some potential for a slow headbang.
Straight back into something heavier, Perfect Strangers is a perfect heavier track to lead on from the more ballady track. It’s just a good old heavy metal track that you can really get stuck into.

Overdrive has that marching pace that has become so common in many power metal albums. I can see this being a a fist pumping track with an audience singalong, “We want it! We need it! No regrets at all!” Again, there’s definitely an old school metal feel. All My Life, has a definite Firewind vibe to it, it’s got a fantastic power metal chorus, perfect for raising your fist in the air and singing your heart out. Of course, there’s another fantastic solo showing off Gus G’s talent on the axe.

Space Cowboy has a more upbeat feel, ready for a bit of fun and dancing. It feels like a track you can have a good old singalong. It should be performed in an intimate venue filled with people dressed up and having a great time, it’s that kind of vibe. Finally, to round things off, we have Kill The Pain, which DEFINITELY has that old style Judas Priest feel with the drums. The gritty vocals are back, and it’s fast paced and heavy. It’s the kind of track I need to get my energy up and motivated to kick some ass during lockdown.

Firewind aren’t the symphonic, fantasy power metal I’ve been listening to a lot recently, but hearing something grittier and heavier is a welcome change. I’ve fallen back in love with the band and will be using my lockdown time to go through their full back catalogue. Firewind are a band I would love to see live again, and I think they would go down an absolute TREAT at a festival such as Bloodstock Open Air. I don’t think there is a bad song on this album, and it’s rare that I find albums I will go back to again and again to listen in their entirety, but I have a feeling that this self-titled album release from Firewind could be one of those rare few.

Firewind – Welcome To The Empire

Verdict: 9/10

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