1. Allegiance 2. Insanity 3. Falling To Pieces 4. Ready To Strike 5. Breaking The Silence (feat. TARA) 6. Deliverance 7. Till The End Of Time 8. Dreamchaser 9. Before The Storm 10. The Essence 11. Where Do We Go From Here?
Young guitar virtuoso Gus G. has really made quite a few changes over the last year. The journeyman has decided to leave behind his roles with Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, and Dream Evil to pursue a full-time role with main band Firewind. Gus G. managed to hit the Ozzfest tour this summer filling in as guitarist for Arch Enemy, but other than that it has been a full plate of Firewind. His band has a new lineup in place for their fourth album to date in "Allegiance". Joining the cause this go around is new singer Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Majestic, Time Requiem) and new drummer Mark Cross (ex-Helloween, ex-Metalium, current Winter's Bane). "Allegiance" was recorded at Tailor Maid Productions (Dark Tranquillity, Hellfueled) and mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom,
I was a huge supporter of the band's last release "Forged By Fire", ranking it near the top of my "who's who" list for 2005. I will go on record and say this new album is a far superior product and is hands down the best release of the young band's career. This is a mammoth sound beast that is both diverse and seasoned, while still retaining enough true heavy metal breath to satisfy even the most die-hard of fans.
The band charge out of the gate with title track "Allegiance", braced with a steady, anthem styled chorus sure to shake bone, skull, and sidewalk. "Insanity" follows with frantic shred work from Gus, backed by a catchy chorus that doesn't alienate Gus's fast playing. The band's first single, "Falling To Pieces", is a stirring hard rock odyssey that fits the modern edge of bands like Edenbridge and Lacuna Coil while not delving into those weak guitar rumblings. Gus G. is in full command here and really understands the bridge between commercial accessibility and the need to fuel the fires of heavy metal fanatics. The 80's enthusiasts will absolutely love "Ready To Strike" while more modern day rockers will appreciate the male/female vocal exchange on "Breaking The Silence". Interesting choices for me are the Amorphis styled "Deliverance" and the Impellitterri styled axegrinder "Till The End Of Time".
Bottom Line - "Allegiance" is the perfect modern day metal affair, really digging deep into traditional roots, stirring guitar frenzies, and today's cutting edge commercial dishes. Hats off to Gus G. for understanding the needs of all headbangers. Overall this is another solid album of the year candidate! And jeers to Century Media for putting this album on the back burner stateside until early '07.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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