I was waiting for the follow-up to the successful “Immortals” album with curiosity, especially after the departure of Bob Katsionis (guitar, keyboards) and Henning Basse (vocals). The expectations were high and a fear follows the change. After listening to Firewind’s new album, I understood that all these expectations and the fear is only a problem of ours. You won’t find even a moment of weakness, a moment of anxiety and worry in Firewind’s new release – on the contrary, we have here one of Firewind’s best studio albums! The band’s eponymous effort, without Katsionis and with Herbie Langhans on vocals, is an outstanding album, which will impress and totally satisfy all the power metal fans! Firewind does what knows best and does it wonderfully. Gus G and co. prove that after all these years, they remain very much inspired and have the passion and the energy of a newcomer band. In “Firewind” you will hear catchy riffs, shocking guitar solos and marvelous melodies, integrated in great songs which stand where traditional heavy metal meets hard rock and (US and european) power metal. Gus G shows why he is a fabled guitarist – his guitar work is extraordinary. Herbie Langhans is the perfect replacement of Henning Basse, his raucous and soaring vocals totally fit the group’s sound. And the rhythm section sounds so tight, so dense! You won’t find a filler song in here – every note has its importance, every second of the group’s performance comes to satisfy our hunger for good melodic metal! “Welcome to the Empire”, “Rising Fire”, “Overdrive” and “All My Life” will blow your mind, “Longing to Know You”, “Devour” and “Break Away” will steal your heart – I personally have blown my speakers with “Orbitual Sunrise”! To sum up, with this album Gus G and Firewind should be absolutely happy, since it continues the band’s tradition to release great albums. Changes have affected the band in a positive way and “Firewind” is a new, very interesting chapter in Firewind’s book. What are you waiting for? Go get it!

♦ 8,5/10

Dimitris Zacharopoulos