As a huge fan of Firewind my expectations for Few Against Many
were pretty high, considering their last two efforts were pretty awesome. Part of my expectations came when I read an online review (before it was released) that said it was suppose to feature a lot of guitar riffs that resembled Gus’s entire career from the many side projects that ranged in style of different power metal, heavy metal, and melodic death metal riffs. Based on my first listen I was quite disappointed with the vocals mainly; either it was the mixing or Apollo’s age is starting to catch up with him. Or worst of all, Apollo seems to be hanging out with Ozzy more so then Gus based on the observation of “yeah” being in one too many choruses, along with some other minor vocal melodies, but it’s not that big of a deal. Yet, we still hear soaring choruses with strong vocal performances, even if the inevitable is starting to happen with his age. Besides that, the point is that Firewind is trying something different. While Gus is spinning out riffs similar to Zakk Wylde (along with other riffs that resemble his entire career), we also see a decline of keyboard solos from Bob with more focus on guitar harmonies and rhythm sections, Petros’s bass is audible for the most part compared to previous Firewind albums, but then again it sounds like he’s playing root notes then a bass melody, and finally the addition of a new drummer Johan Nunez has proved to be a worthy member with drum patterns that keeps the listener interested.
Like I said earlier, my first listen wasn’t the best experience with my expectations, because I seriously wasn’t expecting the first two songs to give off that Ozzy vibe, even if they were better than Ozzy’s solo career as a whole. That alone can turn some heads around and forget about the album all by itself. Personally, it took some time getting used to the lead single “Wall of Sound” with the odd layered vocals shouting ‘We Are the Wall of Sound’, besides that it turns out to be an awesome song after a couple of listens of getting use to. Right when the listener leaves the lead single/first song, “Losing my Mind” comes tearing into the ears of the listener that will be labeled as an epic without a doubt; truly a remarkable highlight off of the album. Lucky for those who aren’t fans of any Ozzy related influence or sound, we see Firewind pick up their pace and show off songs that’ll enter the classic Firewind catalogue such as songs like “Glorious” and “Destiny” right after the album epic, “Losing my Mind”. Firewind has also decided to experiment with their sound with guest musicians. Somewhere along the line someone said that the ballad “Edge of a Dream” would sound better if there was an orchestra in the background, and that was exactly what they did. They brought in the world famous Finnish cello group, Apocalyptica. The pure beauty of the song is perfect for anyone to enjoy, even non-metal heads.
While the album is arguably the most concise album to date for Firewind’s discography, it may or may not be a rough start when first listening; it more or less depends on your personal taste of an Ozzy sound. Not that there is anything wrong with Ozzy, there just might be a bumpy road for some. As a conclusion, I highly recommend the entire album; not a single bad song. Few Against Many
is truly a worthy album for any metal head to check, and it also stands clear as a highlight of the year as well.
Wall of Sound
Losing My Mind
The Undying Fire