"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Firewind - "The Premonition" (CD)

Firewind - "The Premonition" CD cover image

"The Premonition" track listing:

1. Into The Fire
2. Head Up High
3. Mercenary Man
4. Angels Forgive Me
5. Remembered
6. My Loneliness
7. Circle Of Life
8. The Silent Code
9. Maniac
10. Life Foreclosed

Reviewed by on May 3, 2012

"Those who've only heard Gus G. on Ozzy Osbourne's 'Scream' are going to be surprised by the versatility he shows throughout 'The Premonition,' with some solos that far exceed the technicality shown on his debut with the Prince of Darkness."

Firewind definitely avoids the sophomore slump on the band's 2007 disc, "Premonition." It's an album that blends the technical flourishes and near-operatic vocals of power metal with the energy of thrash, punctuated with catchy almost pop hooks.

Guitarist Gus G, who'd later sling his ax with Ozzy Osbourne cites the band's influences as ranging from "Thin Lizzy to Black Sabbath and Megadeth." The opener, "Into The Fire," definitely shows off the influence that Dave Mustaine has had on the band, with an opening and riff that wouldn't feel out of place on "So Far, So Good ... So What!" Granted, Apollo Papathanasio's vocals and Bob Katsionis' keyboards do take the tune a bit into power metal territory, but with no loss of energy. "Remembered" and, to a lesser degree, "The Silent Code" also feature some thrash-influenced stylings.

Tracks like "Head Up High," "Angels Forgive Me" and "Circle Of Life" take on a more traditional power metal feel, with the latter track having an especially potent chorus. The closing track, "Life Foreclosed" feels a bit like Dio-era Sabbath, and that's never a bad thing.

There are a couple of surprisingly poppy tracks, including the hook-infused "Mercenary Man" and the ballad "My Loneliness." The album's biggest misfire is easily its most pop-infused track, a surprisingly faithful cover of the "Flashdance" soundtrack tune "Maniac."

Those who've only heard Gus G. on Ozzy Osbourne's "Scream" are going to be surprised by the versatility he shows throughout "The Premonition," with some solos that far exceed the technicality shown on his debut with the Prince of Darkness. Still, the album also hints at why he may have gotten the Ozzy gig over other talented players, with a couple guitar breaks having an almost bluesy feel, reminiscent in many ways of fellow Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde.

"The Premonition" is definitely a sign of the great things to come for Gus G. and Firewind. It's also a fantastic album that will please power metal fans and those who appreciate fine fretwork.

Highs: "Into The Fire," "Remembered" and "Life Foreclosed."

Lows: The overly faithful cover of Michael Sembello's "Maniac" from "Flashdance."

Bottom line: An excellent album for power metal fans and those who love amazing guitar work.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)