Firewind – Stand United (AFM Records)

Monday, 26th February 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

Although the releases have been spread out a bit compared to the early / mid 2000’s, one can always rest assured that there is a supreme benchmark aspect to the melodic heavy / power metal present from Firewind. With vocalist Herbie Langhans firmly ensconced in the lineup, Stand United as the tenth studio record keeps the four-piece alignment to great songwriting with stellar melodies as well as a bevy of musicianship-oriented tricks front and center – delivering nine new songs plus another killer 80’s radio classic given a reinterpretation.

The mixture of catchy anthems and power-hungry cuts keeps the momentum bursting, Gus G as a guitarist alert to the cause of listeners devouring his neoclassical, shred-tastic abilities – yet understanding that he also needs to create great main riffs, transitions, and solid runs that cement themselves deep into the brain. Drummer Jo Nunez dominates in relentless double kick, swinging main mechanics for the resilient, uplifting nature to the title track – Gus lighting up his fretboard as if in upper gear. Laying back a bit in more of an old school Judas Priest / Accept manner for “The Power Lies Within”, Herbie’s raspy verse work sparks a sinister background call/response aspect during the chorus that could ignite audience involvement. While the keyboard spots may have diminished from previous albums, there are still segments where they carry greater importance – check out the circular hook within “Come Undone” that brings about bombastic Styx influences. Firewind also aren’t afraid to explore occasional cyber or modern accents that never take away from the established melodic power metal platform – “Fallen Angel” an interesting track that contains both aspects brilliantly as the main groove plus vocal harmonies should sweep listeners into a frenzy. Beyond a breathtaking ballad closer with “Days of Grace” that showcases Gus’ intuitive clean to power chord positioning next to the commanding vocal prowess of Herbie, the band’s delivery of “Talking In Your Sleep” (an 80’s hit for The Romantics – yes, there was more to them than “What I Like About You”) could get the younger generation into more classic pop hits.

Stand United keeps the Firewind catalog going strong – and their worldwide touring schedule (including North America for the first time in almost a decade) should bolster their presence. When the best axe heroes meet next to powerhouse vocalists, rock solid bassists, and versatile drummers – the results in this genre benefit all the astute listeners willing to heed the call.

Firewind official website

Firewind on Facebook

[fbcomments width="580"]