Firewind’s self titled album was conceived through the most crucial point in the band’s history according to Gus G, who even thought of a break up.
This is the fifth time they change their lead singer to record a new album and Bob Katsionis departure changes the sound weakiening the keyboard section and going back to the roots of their first two albums. Actually, Herbie Langhans’ sounds closer to Firewind’s first singer, Stephen Frederick, more than any other vocalist who got the spot behind the mic those 20 years.
The album sounds fresh and its intense. Gus G is everywhere filling each song with riffs and solos like there is no tomorrow. Some songs were written with Dennis Ward, just like the previous album “Immortals”, and I have to say that these are the ones that stand out after the first couple of spins. Those are “Welcome To The Empire” which opens the album and starts off with a completely ‘80s hard’n’heavy intro and follows a bit more prog format being one of the band’s more complex songs. “Breakaway” with its finger twisting riffs and endless soloing that initially was meant to be an instrumental on a Gus G solo album. “Space Cowboy” which is part of a trilogy about a spaceman’s life during a mission in space.
The return to a more heavy sound fits the band like a glove and honestly listening to “Firewind” I didn’t think that something was missing. I’d rank this one as their best since the Apollo era and their greatest so far, which were “The Premonition” and “Allegiance”, which is shows a lot about the band’s character taking into notice the circumstances under which it was forged.
I can’t wait to see the band again live, where things will be different on stage with only one guitar are pre-recorded keyboards. This might be a good chance to play some older songs from Firewind’s back catalogue.