Review Summary: A surprising return-to-form of a similar sound to their debut.
As we all know (or at least the majority) Gus G. was in quite a few bands in his early musical career. Actually scratch that out, he was in a bunch of bands! He never had a specific main band with a side project; he had four bands that were all consistent “side-projects”; two power metal bands, one melodic death metal band, alongside his respectable speed metal band that will soon become a power metal, Firewind (a band that he has been demoing stuff since 1998). After releasing so many albums with all four of his bands he finally decided to “call it quits” with a mutual departure from Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy, and Nightrage during the years of 2004-2005. Surprisingly enough, Gus initially left those bands to focus more on Firewind, but Nightrage's Descent into Chaos
was released months after Firewind's Forged by Fire
. Just fun trivia...
Anyways. After seeing the so/so album that was Burning Earth
with mixed feelings musically of speed metal and power metal, that left a bitter-sweet aftertaste. Yet, there's a line-up change within, which brings back a newer sound. A new sound that's very similar to Firewind's debut, which makes Forged by Fire
arguably their heaviest album to date. Amongst the new line-up that replaces the previous singer is the infamous power metal vocalist from Sri Lankan, Chitral "Chity" Somapala, who has been known to leave after one album being with a band, the other being an addition who becomes a consistent member in the future that's featured on keyboards and later on rhythm guitar as well, Bob Katsionis.
Let's be honest, line-up changes are a bitch. We all know musically it's going to change, but how? Sometimes it's for the better or for the worse. In this case it's for the best. Gus finally brings back crushing speed metal riffs with excellent solos that are highly remembered by the listener, consistent song structures with only a few burps, the introduction of a more promising later-on sound from Bob Katsionis's keyboard solos, solid drumming, and melodic vocals that aren't forced to the point of being off key. Forged by Fire
is an overall improvement from its predecessor; the song writing isn't washed-up, the vocalist matches with the rest of the group. The only beef I have with this album is the fact that every ballad featured on this album, including the bonus track, all sound the same and the song “Perished in Flames” is repetitive to the point of tears. As an fan of Firewind I recommend Forged by Fire
to anyone, but it takes time to grow on you.