Label: AFM Records Playing Time 48 Min Release: 15th May 2020
Gus G. has been running Firewind for 20 years, although he was (and still is) involved in many other projects (e.g. Ozzy Osbourne, Mystic Prophecy, Arch Enemy, Nightrage and Arch Enemy). But his own “baby” is Firewind. At the beginning of this millennium, it had started as a one-man-project, but it has become a full band meanwhile. No doubt, it is still Gus G. who is the head and also face of this band. Especially the positions on drums and lead vocals have always been ejection seats. Anno 2020, there is again a change: Henning Basse (former Metalium) left and Herbie Langhans (former Sinbreed and Avantasia) joined the band instead.
In terms of music, nothing changes on Firewind’s 9th studio album. They still play melodic up-tempo Heavy Metal, which sounds like a mixture of classic Heavy Metal (Iron Maiden), Power Metal (Hammerfall) and harder melodic Metal (Mystic Prophecy). The voice of Herbie Langhans fits quite well into this sound. To be quite honest, I did not recognize his characteristic voice immediately, because he sings in a much lower register than he did for Sinbreed.
Concerning the songs, “Firewind” is an ambivalent output. The participating musicians are all high class and therefore it is clear that there is no rubbish on this album. Yet the absolute highlights and hit songs are a bit sparse. ‘Welcome to the Empire’, ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Orbitual Sunrise’ are outstanding and very catchy. However, the chorus melody of the latter reminds me a lot of Edguy’s ‘Tears of a Mandrake’. Another outstanding song is the half-ballad ‘Longing to know you’. But most of the songs are too similar and equably. In this point, I had expected more from such high-class musicians like Gus G.