CD Reviews > Firewind

Firewind - Immortals

AFM Records

Melodic Power Metallers Firewind draw upon their illustrious Greek ancestry for their new album Immortals -- all the pageantry, power, and spirit of Alexander the Great, the Trojan War, and, of course, Sparta's stand of 300 brave souls standing strong against the advance of the vast Persian army. In fact, Immortals is a concept album, a tribute to King Leonidas making his heroic stand with his 300 Spartans.

"This is our first concept album," Firewind's Gus G. explains. "It has to do with ancient Greek history, more specifically the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis in 480 BC during the second Persian invasion of Greece. In Thermopylae, the vastly outnumbered Greeks hold off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear guard was annihilated by one of history's most famous last stands."

Even the album's cover art by Gustavo Sazes celebrates this heroic spirit of the triumph of the ancient Greek warriors. The Goddess Athena Herself would be proud!

It had been 5 years since Firewind had released their Few Against Many. Although fans had been awaiting a new release with baited breath since that time, guitar virtuoso Gus G had toured as part of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne's band, and released two solo albums of his own.

"The songs were written in a much slower pace this time," Gus G explains, "it's the longest break we ever took between albums. So we took our time writing this and concentrated on keeping ideas that were really strong."

The aforementioned Gus G. is joined by vocalist Henning Basse, bassist Petros Christos, keyboardist Bob Katsionis, and drummer Jo Nunez. Not surprisingly, besides the inspirational vocals and strong foundations, Gus G.'s lead guitar work was phenomenal! The music on this album grabs you by the heart, and refuses to let go for a nanosecond!

The incendiary "Hands of Time" starts things off with quite the adrenaline rush! An indisputable line is drawn in the sand with "We Defy". The "Ode to Leonidas" starts with a ballad narrated by the Spartan king before exploding into fiercely defending Greek shores from the Persian scourge. "Back on the Throne" is a regal procession forcing forces loyal to a disposed ruler to fight to bring him back to his rightful place -- this evokes stories such as that of Odysseus or Jason and the Argonauts.

There is no surrender in the virtuous "Live and Die By The Sword" -- admirable bravery! The epic "War of Ages" is seriously triumphant! The ballad "Lady of 1000 Sorrows" showcases the tragedy felt by the mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and other women close to those fearless warriors -- who would rather have their loved ones come home safely instead of their selfless sacrifice for their country and people. This is just as true today as it was during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece.

The instrumental title track "Immortals" is as regal as the Olympian Deities. I love the bravado in "Warriors and Saints", which celebrates the defenders of the common people. The exultant "Rise From The Ashes" is like the fabled Phoenix. The bonus track "Visions of Tomorrow" is inbued with a tenacity prepared for whatever the future might bring, but is full of hope.

Excellent album! It immediately got placed in my personal Heavy Rotation stack!!!

~Athena Schaffer