Firewind – Few Against Many (eOne Music/Firewind Ltd)Monday, 25th March 2013
Striking while the iron is hot and main employer Ozzy does the Black Sabbath reunion thing, guitarist Gus G returns with his power metal outfit Firewind. Album number seven comes on the heels of a series of European/North American tours, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Few Against Many takes some dynamic risks in terms of heavier sonic aspects and the songwriting versatility a veteran quintet needs to develop in order to sustain personal and professional longevity.
First single/video “Wall of Sound” may be a prototypical Firewind opener, but the 6:29 follow-up “Losing My Mind” moves between mid-tempo, heavier Metallica terrain and 70’s Rainbow parts as keyboardist/guitarist Bob Katsionis participates in a dual syncopation trade-off with Gus G during the instrumental sections. At other moments new drummer Johan Nunez (first heard on the Days of Defiance tour) brings the tempo factor to almost thrash heights on the frenetic title cut and the Testament-like “Another Dimension” where Gus and Katsionis throw down some killer speed licks and chord progressions.
As a vocalist Apollo Papathanasio has that Coverdale-meets-Dio power along with this reflective channeling, most evident on the moving ballad “Edge of a Dream” that features guest cello work from Apocalyptica. Overall though, Gus G knows that most of his fans enjoy the material that provides ideal air poses, fervent hand clapping and audience sing-a-longs, straddling the fence of old school hard rock and power metal- and you’ll get that with “Destiny” and the darker “Glorious.”
With a new North American deal in place, Few Against Many should appease the Firewind faithful, and hopefully convert a few adventurous Ozzy maniacs to the fold. Steady, high-quality output should receive just rewards in the end.
(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)