Review | Firewind – Stand United
Nine shine new metal tracks + one heavied-up cover version of an 80s classic are the ingredients of Gus G. and his Firewind’s new offering `Stand United’. Bold and fierce classic metal with intense playing and powerful guitarwork, packed in cover artwork that is doing justice to the bitterness and heaviness of the album. Firewind and the axe maestro report back after a 4-year hiatus with a brand-new album to unite us all.
A UNITY OF FANS
`Stand United’ is the unity of fans and band re-inflated with classic metal and its most powerful ingredients: heavy and powerful drums and bass, scorching riffs and lick with ear mingling solos and memorable hooks atop, and powerful heavy vocals. On its predecessor `Firewind’, Gus introduced Herbie Langhans with his powerhouse vocals and heavy growl, putting is mark on the new album again.
With song titles like ,,Land of Chaos”, ,,Destiny is Calling”, the title track and ,,Salvation Day”, Gus and his band display to be heavily influenced by the modern-day madness of which the latter is the opening track immediately setting the beacons.
The bands mash of classic heavy metal ingredients and highly melodic, somewhat anthemic, hooks and melodies are exactly what fans expect. Fulfilling on delivery, Firewind lays down a rock-solid groove with Petros Christo’s potent low-end bass and Jo Nuñoz’ dominant drums full of breaks. The riff immediately has you hooked, displaying Gus G. as one of heavy metal’s most potent players in the field. The axe slinger lays down his signature scorching riffs incorporated with rich fills, hooks and melodies, topped off by dazzling solos full of wizardry and fretboard magic. The melodies and memories are instantly nesting, with Herbie belting out his low growling powerful vocals, matching the profile.
CLASSIC POWER METAL ERA
These ingredients are, every once in a while, topped off by keenly injected keyboard swirls, empowering its atmosphere or adding to the luster of Gus’ intricate melodies and playing like on the video single ,,Come Undone”, held up by dynamic double-bass and growling bass lines walking in line with the heavy riff and wonderful melody licks returning to the fold constantly. Pawing deep in the classic power metal era of the eighties, the song fuses Judas Priest with Metal Church accolades, while revealing a modern potency well-captured in Dennis Ward’s transparent and powerful production.
Adding a nesting and epic thin line, Firewind takes a slight turn on their recent video ,,Destiny is Calling”, drawing from a wider horizon musically. Dynamics and drive in place, the song is built around the morphing vocal melodies and chorus line, with high-tech swirling through. A hammer!
The album’s title track is a homage to Priest’s heaviest tracks like ,,Freewheel Burning” and ,,Screaming for Vengeance”, with insane (piercing) guitars and drums on fire. Langhans displays his flexibility belting out dire vocals with higher register touched and his growls subdued to a cleaner delivery. He belts it out impressively, occasionally taking the spotlight from the master and his guitar.
FIREWIND AND JUDAS PRIEST
These four songs dissect the band’s current collage of classic ingredients, while their also adding Gus’ typical (prog-metal) approach, like on ,,Land of Chaos” and the dramatic album closer ,,Days of Grace”, perhaps their best track to date. Adding a different tone, Firewind and G. lean on the towering memorable hooks of melodic rock on the powerful metal crawler ,,The Power of Lies within”, while stripping down to Judas Priest’s debuting days on the classic and hard rocking metal bliss on ,,Fallen Angel”. The song is opened in scattering 70s tone with organic clean production adding to the signature NWOBHM riff carnage, slowly morphing modern with increasing productional power and density.
This classic opening is modernized on ,,Chains”, with its insane wailing opening lick and psychedelic keys. Low droning bass added, the Sabbath-like track slowly transcends with Herbie balancing his raw and raucous vocals with a Dio-esque melodic soulful swagger and appeal. From this register Herbie draws for the Romantics cover ,,Talking in Your Sleep”, which is left intact, but is metallized with heavy licks and powerful drums making the song shoot in to higher gear while keeping its structure intact. New wave metal might apply as a label, though I consider this a filler.
FIREWIND – THE CONCLUSION
Firewind’s `Stand United’ is an album is built constructed from heavy metal’s era-spanning ingredients, uniting fans. Classic heavy metal accolades are weld onto a heavy carcass full of groove, without lacking the melodic punch. Power metal dominates without missing out on the classic NWOBM ingredients, the memorable hooks and slick riffs, all spiced up by modern day metal. Tweaked with keys and epic aspects, Firewind’s songs check all the boxes for a great evening full of metal celebration. With Gus on guitar and Langhans at the helm the upcoming European tour will be insanely memorable.
Release date: 1st March 2024