Firewind – The Premonition (Century Media)

Thursday, 14th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

All-star guitarist Gus G.’s burst of productivity has carried over into ’08, barely a year after Allegiance was released. Sorta surprising why more bandsdon’t do this – it was commonplace in the 70’s and 80’s and now a mini-milestone when it happens today.

Nevertheless, The Premonition is front-loaded with some quite Dio-esque numbers (i.e. “Head Up High” and “Angels Forgive Me”), especially in vocalist Apollo Papathanasio’s delivery. G. is top form, doling out catchy, melodic daggers in opener “Into the Fire” and lead single “Mercenary Man,” which could not be more infectious and poppy.

Back to Papathanasio. His gravely take during “Mercenary Man” is pure gold, loaded with saccharine and is hard to resist, as is his reflective tone on “My Loneliness,” a song that would be trash on most power metal albums. Even the near-disastrous cover of “Maniac” (from the movie Flashdance) is at least tolerable because of our man, Apollo.

A marked improvement over the already-excellent AllegianceThe Premonitiontakes modern power metal back to the 80’s, amplifies the hooks, pours some sugar on (ok, ok, I’ll stop), and emerges as the real gem of Firewind’s near decade long career.

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