are a Power Metal band from Greece, of all places. They originally started as just a band to simply show off Gus G (guitarist and owner of the band)’s guitar skills, but with the moderate success they received, turned into a full band. The Premonition
is their fourth offering, and while it doesn’t add anything totally new to the kingdom that is Power Metal, it’s certainly a very fun listen.
So, the band was formed because a guitarist needed a band to accompany him while he showed off his guitar work. Now, you’re probably thinking ‘Wow, this guy must be really good!’ or something. While he isn’t the next Randy Rhoads, he is indeed very good. The guitar work on this album, from riffs to solos, is very consistent. While the riffs are quite basic overall, most, if not all of them are very catchy (see 'Mercenary Man' or 'Head Up High') and still are heavy enough to be satisfying. What really stands out about Gus is his lead guitar playing. If you want an example but aren’t too keen on Power Metal, see Arch Enemy’s 'Taking Back My Soul' (Gus was brought in to do lead guitar exclusively for that song). He definitely knows how to shred, and shows it on nearly every track. The solos come out at wild speeds, yet never once get too technical or go on too long, which keeps them fresh throughout.
The rest of the band are very reliable too. Vocals are handled by the erratically named Apollo Papathanasio, and while he’s nothing amazing, he does have a very powerful, melodic voice that fits perfectly with the music. The bass is always audible and he does a solid job, although nothing really stands out with his playing. The drumming, handled by Mark Cross (ex-Helloween) is very fast and solid (think Ingo Schwichtenberg from Helloween
). I like how he doesn’t overdo it, for example, there’s a lot
of double bass beats in a few tracks, but for the most part he only uses one bass drum so the listener doesn't get overpowered. Firewind
also possess a keyboard player, who doesn’t really do much. The odd neo-classical line pops up every now and then, and he harmonizes with Gus on a few solos ('Mercenary Man'). The only time he gets a central role is in the cover of 'Maniac', which is pretty cool.
So, what about the songs? Gus writes nearly all the music (while Apollo writes nearly all of the lyrics), and he’s very capable when it comes to writing Power Metal. Obviously, Power Metal is catchy, and The Premonition
is no exception. Like I mentioned earlier, the riffs throughout are very catchy, but the choruses in the album are really where it excels. Every chorus is pretty damn hard to dislike, and ones like 'My Loneliness' (which is one of the catchiest things I’ve ever heard) and 'Into The Fire' will surely have you singing along the second time round. The catchiness is a big booster for the album, because it makes it very easy to get into at pretty much any time. While I really like bands like Kalmah and Wintersun, lots of the time I’d choose Firewind over them simply because I want something that I can get into instantly.
Now, my description of this album has been pretty standard for that of a Power Metal album. Does this album bring anything totally new to the genre? Is there that one song that’ll make you think ‘this has to be one of the best Power Metal songs out there’? Sadly, no. When I think about the best Power Metal songs, 'Halloween', 'Rebellion In Dreamland' and 'Somewhere Far Beyond' instantly come into my mind. What those songs all have in common is the fact they’re long. Long and epic. The closest we get to a 'Rebellion In Dreamland' (which is, in my opinion the best Power Metal song ever written) is the opening track, 'Into The Fire'. From the slow build-up with the acoustic to heavy to shredded guitar to the epic bridge, it’s a great song. Unfortunately though, there is no prolonged middle section or standout amazing solo to put it among Power Metal’s best. Still, if Firewind keep trying with a longer (6 minute+), more epic tracks, we could have some really great albums in the future from this Greek quintet.
So, in conclusion, while this is nothing amazing, it’s a very fun record, and I look forward to seeing the band in September.
- Very solid instrumentation
- Lovely solos
- Extremely catchy
- Lacks that real groundbreaking song
Into The Fire
Angels Forgive Me