Firewind / Days Of Defiance

Days of Defiance

Firewind is a Greek heavy metal band. Formed in 1998, the group is currently signed to Century Media Records and was originally a small project created by guitarist, Gus G. to showcase his demo, Nocturnal Symphony in 1998. Firewind later became a full band over three years later when they recorded their debut album, Between Heaven and Hell. To date, the band has released six studio albums and has been met with international success.

The Analysis:

The Ark Of Lies—-Beginning with a nice background hum and classic progressive acoustic intro guitar, you hope for the best. You will not be disappointed as both the guitars and drums smack you at the same time…followed by a classic 80’s style Metal vocal that brings a smile to my face. This is aggressive, yet remains pretty accessible.

World On Fire—-With no pretense or artificial build-up, the guitars come out at a pretty break neck speed on this one. as usual with so many bands like this, the guitars quiet a bit too much to allow for the entrance of the vocal, but that is a minor flaw. the lyrics are typical Progressive Metal…with odd tales and vivid imagery…a slight viking feel and huge drums. This is very nice. For once, the vocal does not disappoint me.

Chariot—-Aggressive but surprisingly predictable by the 3rd song, this track manages to stay a bit fresh with some variance in the vocal delivery. There are some nice overlays, and the chorus is this huge affair that has the ability to stick in your brain..even as you move on to the next predictable track.

Embrace The Sun—-The first ‘released’ song from this CD, the music has a much more epic and grandiose sound…the drums are huge. The vocal again causes the instrumentation to tone down a bit, but the whole band joining in on the vocals gives this a nice big sound. this again has a pretty damn magical chorus…grabbing your brain and holding on for dear life. This is excellent!

The Departure—-At the onset, this is rather nice…beginning with lots of atmosphere and some nice electronic [?] blips and beeps. The build-up is really nice…when the guitars hit full throttle, you are swept up in the majesty of it all. I love the melody line that the leads deliver as the song morphs into…

Heading For the Dawn—-For once, the music manages to stay strong and at a constant volume even as the vocal enters. This guy is a pretty great vocalist…reminding me of all the great prog-rock bands that capture my attention from time to time. This is stellar…soon to be a classic in my book, I’ll be listening to this one for a while.

Broken—-Delivering the requisite ballad that most of these bands feel compelled to deliver, the chorus enters the song and really smacks you with a huge, contagious lyric and an irresistible melody. This is pretty fresh…even though it is expected and fairly rote.

Cold As Ice—-Beginning rather somber, this opens up into a really nice, aggressive track. The vocal has a lot of variance…breaking from the predictable delivery. This has a nice moody delivery…switching from aggression to a slight ballad style at the drop of a dime. This is nice, but by no means the best of what this release has to offer.

Kill In the Name Of Love—-By now, I have become a bit bored with the predictability of this release. The variance from song to song is minimal and there are about 5 songs too many on this CD. I hoped for a much more aggressive delivery from this track based on the song title, but it is pretty rote and same old same old delivery.

SKG—-With a surprisingly dark intro, the lead guitar comes out of the deep and delivers a crisp and fresh feel to a by now almost boring release. The drums join in at a break neck speed and make the hairs on my arms stand up for a few moments. the bass guitar is deep and dark, but never looses the melody that the lead began in the opening moments of the song. This is a fantastic instrumental and one of the highlights of this entire release. Just killer!!!

Losing Faith—-Again, delivering a pretty contagious brand of Progressive Metal, this is nice but looses momentum when the vocal enters. The voice manages to hit some pretty nice notes on this track…sounding better than I have heard Bruce Dickinson sound in years. This just shows…the Greeks are doing it…and doing it big!

The Yearning—-Coming out at you with a bass heavy aggression and some pretty huge drums, this quickly gives way to the predictable soaring leads from Gus. the voice is powerful on this track…full of driving urgency and a nice histrionic delivery. The strain is a bit obvious with certain notes, but overall this guy proves he can sing with the best of the Melodic and Progressive bands out there.

When All Is Said And Done—-With a nice ‘double sound’, this begins almost like two songs at once! It seems to dissolve into a ballad like delivery and the surprising act of actually pushing the vocals back a bit and allowing the music to remain in the forefront. The drums are just incredible…pushed to the very front of the mix, they are the star of this song and they deserve the spotlight. This is pretty great and a nice end to this much too long of a release.

**** out of 5


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