Firewind - 'Immortals'

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Firewind - 'Immortals'

A cracking return.

It's been a while since Gus G and his accomplices have graced us with some new music and you will, of course, be wondering if the wait has been worth it? A definite "yes" is the answer. Firewind have been away for almost five years, but this hasn't dulled their Metallic senses and they seem to know instinctively what is needed musically to excite their fans and it can all be found on their brand new album 'Immortals'.

What is slightly different this time around is that instead of just a bunch of stand-alone songs, the band have plumped for a concept album based around the legend of the Three Hundred Spartans, their King Leonidas and the battle at Thermopile against the Persian hordes of Xerxes I (well, they are Greek). All that said, this isn't a high brow concept that will put old Firewind fans off. It's still the same band in all their Power Metal glory, and whilst the album works as a story and musical piece when played all at once, each of the tracks can be taken out of context and they work just as well.

The opening salvo of 'Hands Of Time' and 'We Defy' provide immediate evidence that Firewind are back with a gigantic bang. Power Metal with killer guitar and keyboard riffs, joined with a bombastic rhythm section and the hard hitting vocals of Henning Basse (Metalium) are what's on offer and it's a proposition you'll likely take up with pleasure. The band then strike like an angry rattlesnake with the brooding and dark edged 'Ode To Leonidas' with its forceful guitar riff being reminiscent of the mighty Iron Maiden. From here on in, this quintet keeps attacking you with glorious Metal gems such as 'Back On The Throne', 'War Of Ages', the superb ballad 'Lady Of 1000 Sorrows' (where Gus G shows a subtler side to his guitar playing) and the galloping 'Warriors And Saints'.

Five years is too long a time between albums, especially for a band as good as Firewind. Hopefully, with this evident new found inferno burning in their Metal souls, the band (and Gus G himself) will continue to write and record Firewind music for many years to come. A cracking return.

Ian Johnson

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