Review Summary: An absolutely satisfactory release, the best of Firewind till now. Real POWER metal.
A video introducing the album track by track was enough to create an unexpected feeling of impatience for this it to come out. To be honest, this was what I expected from Firewind, but on the same time, it was what I wanted to see as well. Power metal at its best...
To start, all five members of the band play equally important roles. In fact, Firewind seem to fully understand that, so the album has an extra advantage: nothing is overdone. Thanksfully, Gus G. doesn't try to show off every moment, but he uses his imagination to make this album better, where needed. Most already know how genius he is anyway. However, not all credit goes to him. Apollo Papathanasio shines in this record, prooving for once again what hell of a melodic voice he has. Bob Katsonis is also quite remarkable: he did a great job with the mixing and as second guitarist and keyoboardist. Petros Christodoylidis and Michael Ehré complete the album with their skill, especially the second one who was recently recruited and adapted very well. The instrumental part of this easily surpasses any previous work.
It is true that at first, the impressions weren't so good. Although the single "World on Fire" is a nice song, which reflects the style of the band, I wouldn't call it trully original. On the other hand, "The Ark of Lies" is a great opener for the album, with a calm acoustic intro and a storm of riffs that follows and acclimatizes us for the rest. Generally speaking, the first four music pieces of the disk are the best ones, not meaning that you will ever get bored listening to this 55 minute masterpiece. "Embrace the Sun" is one of the greatest songs Firewind have ever written, with an amazing rhythm that is going to excite you immediately. Chariot is a kinda commercial but strong and cathcy song, "Broken" is a beautiful ballad that takes advantage of the high potentials of Apollo's voice and finally, "SKG", although I have no idea what it stands for, is a unique five-minute instrumental duel between Gus G. and Bob.
As always, Firewind do what they know best, what they have been doing since their current formation. Although a decent continuation, "Days of Defiance" is not just a "The Premonition #2"; they go one step further; they perfect their music. Well, the lyrics are not innovative or something, but metal needs at least anger, hate or love in order to be powerful and thus succesful. No, cheesy choruses with a thousand of layers are still here too. They have actually been a characteristic of the genre, and when surrounded by so much talent and creation, they just cannot work negatively.
Overall, a quite balanced album without weaknesses, which is definetly going to please you, especially if you liked "The Allegiance" or "The Premonition". Firewind tend to improve with every release of theirs and turn into one of Greece's most notable bands of all time. This is the most power metal can offer to its fans. You should certainly check it out.