Firewind - The Premonition
"The Premonition" is my first real listen to the Greek band Firewind. I first saw them play at last years Progpower Festival in Copenhagen where they were roaring drunk since it was the last show on their tour but I still got the impression that they had some high quality elements. The Premonition (their fifth release) proves that. Filled with powerful and easily digested tunes it is Heavy Metal with a capital M for melody.
Gus G. on guitar is a main attraction, littering the music with heavy riffs, fast solos and plenty of small detail in between. Apollo Papathanasio on vocals is another. His voice is powerful and holds up very well. At times he reminds me of a mutation between Dio and Jorn Lande, though not on the same level as these two deities. Drummer Mark Cross also makes a fine impression. 
The band is tight and well playing. Production is good. The lyrics deal mostly with personal struggles and are generally okay, if not overly inspiring.
The album has no bad songs but in the long run a few end up being just okay rather than great. 9 songs, which vary from intimate power ballad to furious heavy beast and one fun cover of an old 80'ies pop tune (Maniac, which is also found on the soundtrack to the movie Flashdance, which any self-respecting Metal fan of course has seen). A few other reminders of the past also show up through the album.
Album opener Into the fire charges the Battery for what is to come. It has all the needed elements; fast rythm section, an intensely rising bridge section and a catchy refrain.
Head up high has a genius guitar lick going for it. An irresistible urge to play air guitar manifests itself in my mind within the first 10 secons of this song. These two openers are definite highlights.
Mercenary Man opens with a line from Gary Moore's "Millitary man" which is kinda cool. An effective drive is the song's strongest asset along with a free flowing chorus. Angels forgive me reminds me of some of Primal Fear's later songs in the way that it is slick, melodic and slightly anonymous.
Remembered speeds things up with fast verse/bridge sections and an emphazised chorus that makes me hum along. My loneliness is a power ballad of the generic kind. The verses (which open with a slight resemblance to Police's "Message in a Bottle") are the lowpoint while the chorus creates a much more successful vibe.
As a welcome breath of fresh air, Circle of Life amps up the heaviness with a superb riff that is a perfect headbanging invitation. The song doesn't evolve much but makes a good impression due to the main riff.
Life foreclosed is a slow burning song that captures a special dark atmosphere and works very well as an album closer and as a bit of a contrast to the rest of the songs. It adds some needed variation to the album.
My main gripe with the album is that it doesn't hold many surprises and sometimes seems lacking in inspiration. I miss a bit of invention in the long run and after more than 20 listens it settles somewhere between good and great. All in all "The Premonition" is a quality disc that should find a good home in any collection that likes M&M (Metal & Melody).

I bought the limited edition of the album which comes with a DVD with four live tracks from the album and short interviews with all band members. The live performance is great and enjoyable, especially My Loneliness is fun since Apollo forgets the vocals several times but gets through head held high. The interviews aren't very interesting and have too much advertising for various gear to keep my interest.
Watch the Mercenary Man video below:

Written by Steen
Friday, April 25, 2008
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Comment by KingPest (Member) - Saturday, April 26, 2008
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Gus G. has a habit of being in 'predictable' bands. I would have preferred for him to stay in Mystic Prophecy and for Apollo to stick with Time Requiem.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

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Review by Craig (Member) - Friday, January 15, 2010
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Review by notrap (Member) - Sunday, September 19, 2010
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I bought Ozzy's last album in August (excellent by the way) and discover Gus G for the first time.
I was really impressed by Gus's work on Scream. After a quick YouTube research I found out he's Greek and have a band called Firewind.
Who have guess that Ozzy will get a Greek Power/Melodic Heavy Metal guitar player? :)

Well... The Premonition was really a huge surprise.
The album is full of melodic easy listening songs with special credits to Into the Fire; Head Up High; Mercenary Man; My Loneliness and Circle of Life.

Pros: Strong sense of melody . Gus & Apollo work . Head Up High
Cons: I agree with Steen, The Premonition doesn't hold many surprises

A solid 8.5/10

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted by notrap
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Review by Steen

Released by
Century Media - 2008

01. Into the Fire
02. Head Up High
03. Mercenary Man
04. Angels Forgive Me
05. Remembered
06. My Loneliness
07. Circle of Life
08. The Silent Code
09. Maniac
10. Life Foreclosed

Supplied by EMI

Melodic Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Firewind - Official Website

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