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Release Date: Mar 25, 2008
Label: Century Media
Genres: Power Metal
Number Of Tracks: 10
Although Gus G. is still the main highlight in Firewind, the impressive soloing doesn't ever overtake the melody on The Premonition.
UG Team, on april 17, 2008 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: When you gather together a group of extremely competent musicians like the ones in Firewind, you can pretty much guarantee polished, technically impressive results. So not surprisingly, the band's 5th studio album The Premonition rarely disappoints on the production value. While none of the songs will sound that out of the ordinary in terms of the power metal scene, they are also never disappointing thanks to some insanely good solos from guitarist Gus G. and keyboardist Bob Katsionis.
The Premonition features the same lineup featured in the band's previous release Allegiance, and it was a wise decision on their part. The addition of drummer Mark Cross and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio has definitely enhanced what some people might call the main attraction, Gus G. It's true that Gus delivers some incredibly skilled solos, but the supporting members don't ever get hidden in the background. Papathanasio has a commanding presence, sounding a bit like David Coverdale fused with a touch of DragonForce's ZP Theart. The rhythm section is solid as well, tackling some tempos that at times approach speed metal, although there aren't too many moments where things are taken to that extreme on The Premonition.
The album is chock full of hum-worthy songs, particularly the first single Mercenary Man. That particular track has the same type of big, epic chorus like Dragon force's Through The Fire And Flames, and it's easy to understand why Firewind selected it. Out of the 10 tracks, the most impressive song is actually the opener, Into The Fire, which delivers a variety of different musical sections and moods. It begins with some fantastic low guitar tones on the acoustic, eventually introduces building electric sounds, and then just explodes with high-tempo beats. Gus G. impresses right off the bat, with his solo work having a classical feel at times.
One of the more interesting selections is the band's cover of Maniac, a song originally performed by Michael Sembello on the Flashdance soundtrack. It's surprisingly rather true to the '80s version (except for the solo), with the guitar element never overtaking the song. Keyboards deliver the intro line just as the original did, and the guitars don't ever really veer from the original in terms of the chorus and verse. Gus G's solo does get creative on the solo, which feels like a caffeinated version of the original. It was definitely a gutsy, interesting choice by Firewind, and it works well as a metal or pop song. // 8
Lyrics: There are some rather dramatic lyrical moments within The Premonition, and they bounce between being extremely positive and uplifting to dark and melancholy. Head Up High is a perfect example of the lighter side with lyrics such as, This is the time to change and make things right; This is the time to make it on your own; You'll never be yourself; Don't ever lose your pride. The Silent Code takes on a more depressing vibe with such lines as, We just obey the silent code; I'm sick and tired; We're floating in an endless flood. Firewind does take it to extremes, but Apollo's vocal delivery can sell most of the themes. // 8
Overall Impression: While The Premonition isn't too far of a departure from Firewind's last album, Gus G. and the boys have written some solid melodies to adorn the solo work. That's hugely refreshing, particularly considering that a lot of people might expect Gus G. and keyboardist Katsionis to just go off on 10-minute soloing tangents all the time. Don't worry, there are still plenty of solos, with one of the best being the scale-themed work in The Silent Code. But for the most part Firewind absolutely knows what's appropriate for a song and when to hold back, and that's a hugely respectable aspect to the band. // 8
MisguidedAngel, on april 17, 2008 0 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Firewind's return to the music scene with their 6th studio release The Premonition is anything if not aptly named. The Premonition means a vision of things to come, and as far as Firewind's progression as a band, they are getting truly close to a mainstream metal breakthrough. The Premonition comes just over a year after the bands US debut album Allegiance and keeps to Firewind's sound while adding twists and turns that create a very enjoyable and memorable album.
But where does The Premonition really take the listener? The albums opening track Into the Fire begins with a slow acoustic build into a much harder driving riff provided by Gus G. Gus G's playing on The Premonition is nothing sort of inspiring, each song is full of driving leads and solo's that will make even the most hardened shredders take notice. Gus's guitar is just as uniquely complimented by Bob Katsionis's incredible keyboard leads and solo sections. Surprisingly Bob's solo sections are some of the most impressive aspects when they are really put into practice, songs such as Maniac and Head Up High show just the talent within Firewind.
However unlikely it may seem the bands first single off The Premonition is a song called Mercenary Man, which feels like an unlikely winner as it doesn't truly showcase the power of Firewind's members. However it is the most catchy song on the CD and thusly is a good choice as it is the most radio friendly of the albums songs. The song's intro in itself is quite memorable with a quick drum lead into impressive leads by Gus G. The song is just as well brought together by Apollo Papathansio's lyrical flare and delivery, the slow palm muted riffs put together compliment Apollo as he leads the listener into a truly strong chorus build. Overall the song is very well put together if you don't mind missing out on blistering guitar and keyboard leads.
The Premonition keeps Firewind in there own category of music, not quite rock, not quite metal, but has the best of both worlds. Truly powerful leads mixed with strong lyrical delivery will make The Premonition stay in your stereos for months to come, if only to attempt some of Gus G's guitar acrobatics a few times. // 9
Lyrics: Apollo Papathansio's voice has a quality to it that is unmistakable within each song on The Premonition. Some songs do have rather lack luster lyrics, but Apollo has such a way with letting you hear the words that it makes them seem much more like they belong to the song. In the debut single Mercenary Man the lead chorus lyrics All I see is death outside my window, all I need is in my broken mind, I will catch my own wounded shadow, just before we leave it all behind the lyrics themselves paint an image in the listeners mind of a man so consumed by the horrors he has been through that all he is trying to do is find a little piece of sanity, before it is too late. Show just the depth that can go into Firewind's lyrical fury. // 8
Overall Impression: The Premonition as stated earlier is a vision of things to come, what will we see out of Firewind over the coming years? I would expect much more of the same passion and fury that they deliver on this album. With strong tracks such as Remembered with one of the most furious lead riffs on the album assaulting the listener from word go. To the soft and somber feelings evoked by My Loneliness pulling you into one of the most emotionally charged solos by Gus G on the album. Every track on The Premonition has a good quality about it.
However there is one song that is both a hit and a miss. Firewind picked a very unlikely song to cover on The Premonition comes from the 1980s movie Flashdance the band selected the track Maniac and as interesting of a choice it does have some solid aspects to it. Though I don't believe that the song itself could be done in this fashion it doesn't fall flat. Apollo's lyrical delivery however could not truly save this song, and felt downright out of place at times. What does the song do well however? Two of the most impressive solos on the album as strange as that may seem. The first solo comes from Bob on the keyboard and leads into an inspired bit of shredding from Gus G to cap the song at a very climatic place. Gus even throws in an outro solo complete with some classic 1980s whammy bar action.
Overall, Firewind has reached new grounds on The Premonition taking on their classic sound with driving guitar solos and leads while still having mainstream friendly qualities that may allow Firewind to truly hit home with an American audience. // 8
unregistered, on april 17, 2008 0 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Firewind are a band that have release 5 totally different albums. All of which are phenomenal in their own way. Thier latest contribution to musical ecstacy "the Premonition" offers a new side of firewind. Fantastic keychanges, Soaring melodies and fantastic musicianship from every member. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrical content of the songs on the prmonition seems to be a thoughtful insight into the human condition. With uplifting songs like "Head Up High" and sombre moments in "My Lonliness". The vocal work on the album is some of the best heard on any firewind album (or even any metal album for that matter). Apollo Papathanasio boasts a thundersome midrange vocal capability and a high end that leave many rock/metal singers wanting. // 10
Overall Impression: As the owner of every peice of work firewind have released I would say this stands up proud against the rest of their back catalogue and is a keen contender for the best metal album of 2008. Unlike many bands that Write a few awesome songs then fill the album with crap to package it, The premonition is 10 tracks of sheer genious. From the opener "Into The Fire" with it's pulsing beat and it furious guitar and keyboard work to the closure on "Life Foreclosed" which slows things down and prepares the listener for the end of the album while still leaving their eardrums in tatters. I love every moment on this album it is musically perfect and I feel sorry for firewind now that they'll need to follow this album and better it on their next attempt (but remain fully confident that they will not let us down). I don't hate anything about the album musically. However the fact that I can't play it all on guitar yet does cause annoyance. If this album were stolen or lost I would indeed buy it again. I don't think my CD collection would be complete without this masterpeice. In closing, if you are not the owner of this album your life isn't as good as it could be. Go out and get it now! // 10
Haunt3dAng3l, on december 23, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Bone crushing, heavy, yet melodic riffs are ever present in Firewind's brand of heavy metal. It's worked for them in the past, so well in fact they decided to stick with the line-up of "Allegiance", their previous album. However, there isn't really any sort of "innovation" going on musically though. It's seems as the though Firewind has developed a "sonic formula" of sorts. However, history teaches us that if a band becomes too attached to a formula, they eventually become boring. All hope is far from lost though, Firewind seems to be drifting from their power/thrash combo of the past. The band seems to be including elements of "modern hard rock" as Gus G. once described the album. // 8
Lyrics: Lyrics have never been Firewind's area of expertise. They are not terrible at all tough. But the lyrics are often predictable and feel like you've heard them a thousand times before. They don't make you really think about their meaning very hard. The lyrics do fit the music well though. But if it weren't for lead singer "Apollo" the lyrics would be useless. Apollo gives the lyrics the power and emotion they need to succeed in compliance to the music. While his style may not fit the aggression of many firewind tunes all that well, he is possibly the most skilled singer firewind has ever had. // 6
Overall Impression: Comparing it to the band's past efforts, I would not consider this a great improvement. However, it is far from a failure. Those new to firewind will be blown away, but those who have been fans of the band since the times of "Burning Earth" and "Forged by Fire" would probably agree that Gus and his crew are capable of better. I think the reasoning for this is Apollo, he is just to different in vocal style from past vocalists such as Stephen and Chitral. Because of this, I have a "premonition" that Firewind's style will gradually transform into a sound much more like Germany's "Edguy"'s recent albums. My top 3. of the album:
01.Angel's Forgive Me: awesome keyboard work and vocals, best song on the album to my ears.
02.Mercenary Man: catchy chorus and great solo, This is song is also a possible sign of change in firewind's musical direction. Which is good or bad, depending on opinion.
03.Maniac: cover song from the movie "flashdance", who knew it would make such a killer metal song?
Guitars, Melody and overall songwriting are good but not fantastic. It's going to take more getting used to Apollo and the lyrics could improve. But if you're a melodic metal fan, I totally recommend it. If I lost it though, I'd buy better CDs before I got this one again. // 7