'Forged by Fire
' was one of the first proper power metal albums I got into, after forages into Blind Guardian
and Lost Horizon
as an impressionable 18 year old. I was never really into stuff outside Iron Maiden and Iced Earth
at that point, I prefered harder stuff but this seemed like a great combination. I'd heard 'Tyranny
' on the Century
Media website, and was very impressed.
The first thing thing that really struck me about it was it was a lot heavier than previous power metal I'd heard before. A lot of it seemed rather light in its riffs and presentation, but Firewind
don't seem to have this problem. Shredder Gus G
has obviously learned much from his stint in Dream Evil
, and he brings to the fore a solid melodic approach backed up by excellent lead riffing and lightning solos. He also proves capable of changing it up, with 'Kill
' opening with Zakk Wylde
style harmonics before tearing off into an 80s Ozzy style riff and some great vocals, 'Tyranny
' boasting some classic power metal riffing and catchy vocal hooks similar to bands like Hammerfall
, and the epic ballad 'Land
', a more down tempo piece leaning towards the Scorpions
rather than Dream Evil
Another appeal of Firewind
is that they lack the traditional wheelbarrows full of cheese that most power metal bands deliver us. 'Land
' is a passionate ode to the homeland of vocalist Chitty Somapala, Sri Lanka and its troubles. 'Tyranny
' and 'Perished
' deal with oppression and the regime of the Nazis. I am a fan of some fantasy power metal subjects; I've always been partial to the Tolkien adventures of Blind Guardian
, but there are times where I feel the genre offers the perfect background for more than dungeons and dragons. Firewind
's base in human responsibilities and inner strength provides a nice change.
Where the album reaches its peak is the tearing solo off instrumental 'Feast of the Savages', where Gus G
matches off with Marty Friedman
) in a deft contest of riffs. Friedman puts together some impressive work, his oriental style scales near the end are particularly awesome, but Gus's emotional soloing is more than a match. There is also some great faster tracks like 'Escape
from Tomorrow' and 'Perished
', and the hard rock 'Hate
World Hero' shows how the band can provide versatility in their music.
'Forged by Fire
' is a great melodic metal album that'll appeal to most power metal fans, and the album is heavy enough to tempt in some more traditional metal fans. Gus G
is a great guitarist, and is the main draw here; his shredding and soloing are top notch. But the band he assembled around this album back him up superbly, and while it may not break any new ground, it doesn't really need to. Excellent.