Sound — 9
Forged By Fire is the third album released by the power metal band started by Gus G, Firewind. This album introduces a keyboardist and a replacement for their singer. I think on this record the band didn't use the keyboardist very much, there were very few synth solos so it seemed like a waste for the keyboardist. 01. Kill To Live - the harmonics in the intro really kick off the song followed by a very heavy progression. Solos ensuing after verses of powerful lyrics. When the main solo starts it's a slow based one compared to others with the main chords progressing as normal, this continues until a climatic main point where Gus enters the higher regions and shreds. After this solo we can hear the memorable pinch harmonics as heard before at the beginning of the song. The chorus continues afterwards with some sustained notes by the vocalist, the ending to this song is somewhat disappointing, it ends very abruptly which cuts the action short. However it leads well into the next song. 02. Beware The Beast - the intro shows the virtuoso elements of Gus, quite neo-classical arpeggios play just before the short verse. The chorus starts well before the first minute has passed, this song feels quite rushed due to the pace and shortness of the lyrics. At two minutes in there is an interesting harmony along with the melody of the chorus which I like. There is a synthesised event that happens afterwards, a few bars of the guitar chords with emphasised keyboard action. A long wait before the solo kicks in and the solo isn't as compact as the previous song and the chorus enters very quickly afterwards and is repeated for quite a while. I think this is one of the worst songs on the album due to the lack of detail in some vital elements. The song does however end on a good note, feels like a unique cadence and it keeps hanging on that odd note for a while till the memorable chord finishes. 03. Tyranny - a famous song from this album, the riff at the beginning makes it so famous. Along with the chord pattern, combined with the vocals makes this a very aggressive piece till the pre-chorus enters, the chorus has a very distinct melody to it and quickly returns to the riff we heard at the start. This process is repeated quite quickly and a solo starts. Definitely one of his best solos here, he repeats a pattern twice which lasts two bars and then for the last ones he uses quite a contrasting melody. After the chorus again he does the same pattern as he did at the start of the solo. Ending on a high note makes this a good stop to a very action packed song. 04. The Forgotten Memory - another strong riff introduces this song. The vocalist starts growling vocals with palm-muted chords make this quite a demonic start, however later on we have the classic screams of the singer. The chorus is one of my favourites on this album, an abrupt stop before a slower sung chorus with slower played chords. This is heavily contrasted when the verses start and the speed is picked up again. The solo reminded me a lot of a Dragonforce solo (the a different guitarist playing here), lots of whammy action at the start but towards the end Gus's well recognised phrasing returns and it puts up a great show with the chord rhythm used at the chorus, this is reinforced when the chorus follows directly after. 05. Hate World Hero - arpeggios played cleanly make us listeners immediately see that this is a different piece than before. The singing is quite sad and slow. However the distortion starts soon after, but a slower riff is played in between the intro and the verse. The verse continues the intro on, clean chords and a minor melody. The chorus is very potent; the vocals are stressed at the moment the chords strike. The solo is okay, lots of licks are recycled from previous songs though. When the chords use a different rhythm the solo is better. After the solo there is a 'westlife key change' which I hate, the lead guitar starts to imitate the vocals and it morphs into an outro solo with a nice fade at the end. 06. Escape From Tomorrow - the intro has got a strong rhythm, very much like a power metal song. This same rhythm continues after the verse and into the chorus. This song is quite repetitive, even the solo is playing the same melody as the chorus for the first half. But the rest of the solo is shredding adding some interest to the song. The chorus just repeats till the end, nothing really special in this song. 07. Feast Of The Savages - a quality instrumental. Marty Friedman's arpeggios lead straight from the beginning into one of his slower yet heavy melodies. The sweeping turns straight into a rapid synth solo. More harmonics mark a difference in call/response. The two shredders alternate in solos and there is almost a build up for a really big solo, lots of tension is created in the softer parts and the palm muted chords. These chords follow nicely on to a tapping part but that is only a short solo, the same soft arpeggios play and then the massive solo hits. The climax of the song is pulled off perfectly with a slower minor, yet heavily overdriven solo. Alternations between slow and shred are very regular in this solo. The slower, motif of the solo continues to a fade out concluding one of the best instrumentals on a Firewind album. 08. Burn In Hell - the intro is quite annoying to me, reminds me of a techno pieces. The vocals are also almost drowned by the distortion; it's as if the vocalist is trying to shout over the guitars. The song seems to drag on without much happening. The solo is also quite unoriginal, it seems like it's all been done previously on this album. The change of rhythm is quite interesting however. But it turns back to normal when the chorus repeats. 09. Perished In Flames - the sharp bass line starts the song well; the other instruments join accordingly, repeating the similar pattern. The chorus is very good I think, the guitar isn't the focus of the song as it is in many other songs, and there's a lot of control regarding the balance between the instruments. 3 minutes in there's a giant contrast in rhythm, and it builds up all over again. The vocals were pretty mediocre though, quite monotonic. But it leads into the chorus well and there's a typical shred solo. 10. Land Of Eternity - clean melodies accompanied by a mellow voice make this a very relaxing song at first. The song finally starts however when the drums start, it takes quite a while to get into the chorus, but it's a good wait. The chorus is very slow, distortion guitars and the singer hits some high notes very well. This repeats until a new progression enters with different vocals building up to a solo. This solo isn't the best of solos. As it doesn't fit the song very well, a few too many shred elements. The initial melody is revisited at the end with the distortion chords making a well rounded end. 11. I Confide - similar to the previous track this one is played cleanly and arpeggiated. The accent of the singer however comes through in the pre-chorus. These arpeggios turn into chords at the chorus and follow a great melody sung by the singer. This repeats until a solo, the tone of the solo isn't very good, possibly due to the fact that this seems to be played on an electro-acoustic; otherwise, it's a good solo. The chorus repeats and slows down until the end of the song and album.
Lyrics — 8
The new singer in this album has got a great voice; he isn't very good at English though. There are parts where you can hear how his accent influences his singing style. However that is only a minor detail. For a power metal band he can sing very well, he hits high and low notes and has a strong voice. The lyrics sometimes fall into the clich power metal style lyrics, yelling about evil demons in a fantasy world, but this problem is someone disguised with a lot of emotions in the music. Lots of love references are featured in the songs. There are moments in some songs when the guitar melodies and the vocal melodies imitate each other and play call and response which is a great combination of the versatility in some of the songs. However the framework in most of the songs is very similar. There is in almost all their songs a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus structure.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is quite similar to other Firewind albums; Gus G's phrasing doesn't alter much. The main difference here is the vocalist; I think that in later albums the addition of Apollo singing is much better than this guy. "Tyranny" and "Kill To Live" are very dominant pieces of the album, they give a very clear impression on what Firewind has the capabilities of. The inclusion of other guitarists also adds decent variety to this album, it's always better listening to different guitarists play since Gus G's solos are quite similar and sometimes become boring. This album is definitely one of those albums you can listen to countless times.