Review Summary: In short this is the most focused album that Priest has written in a long time, there are no filler tracks, the song writing is diverse, the guitar harmonies are back and Rob sounds as powerful as ever.
The art work of Firepower reminds me of the Screaming For Vengeance album (I remember the release of that album) but is the music as good?
One of the reasons I like Priest is that they never try to copy themselves but always try to put new elements is their music or even give their music a new direction. Although this is not always to everyone’s satisfaction bur even on their “lesser” albums they always have at least one song that really nails it for me (Run of the Mill, Desert Plains, Blood Red skies, Alone) and makes it worth having those albums.
I think that Redeemer was a good album but lacked big time in the sound production, but apparently there was no one around to tell them. So this time to be sure they recruited not 1 but 2 producers: good old Tom Allom returned and produced the album together with wizard Andy Sneap who also engineered the album together with Mike Exeter. So this time the album sound really amazing.
The album contains all the songs you can expect from Priest: the Album starts of with 2 very fierce songs: Fire Power ala Painkiller or Judas Rising and Lightning Strike. Other songs in this vein are Necromancer and Flamethrower (reminds me of The Ripper).
There are a couple of slower songs like Evil Never Dies but has a much heavier sound and picks the speed up during the chorus, midway the song has a dramatic break down, only to build up again into a great climax with guitar and pounding drum mayhem. And also we have Lone Wolf again has this is a slow heavy Sabbath like riff and has a dark lurky sound throughout the song.
No Surrender has a uplifting post-grunge feel again with a great chorus and Rob on top of his game, I simply love this one.
And to top things off, there are some real new Priest classics, think songs like Victim of Changes, The Sentinel, Blood Red Skies and Beyond The Realms Of Death.
Never The Heroes is a real classic and reminds me of Blood Red Skies and has a great Chorus that keeps humming in your head for days (also broken Heroes from Saxon comes to my mind, perhaps it’s just because of the title).
Children Of The Sun starts of with a Black Sabbath like riff, has a big chorus and again a dramatic breakdown halfway the song followed by some great guitar solos.
Guardians (reminds me a lot of Morgenstimmung from the Peer Gynt Suites by Edward Grieg) is a nice piano intro to the next song (the album doesn’t mention who’s playing the piano).
Rising from Ruins is the best song from the album (I would love to hear that one live), slowly building up still with a piano again to a great chorus then breaks down and build up again followed by some great guitar work straight into the chorus and building up to a climax with lots of guitar some great vocals by Rob
Traitors Gate another classic starts of slowly only to build up to a very aggressive chorus, there’s even some humming almost like Accept (where did that came from) and a tolling bell.
The abums ends with another best song form the album: Sea Of Red, a great ballad-like song about war casualties from WWI in the fields of Flanders in Belgium, dramatic beautiful and some sensitive singing bij Rob, the song just keeps building and building towards a majestic end where Rob voice and the guitars are blended sounding like a big choir.