R E V I E W S

Firewind - Allegiance - 2006 - Century Media Records

Track Listing
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?
Sporting a new vocalist, new production, and a significant shift on the artistic front, Firewind returned in 2006 with their fourth full-length, ‘Allegiance’, since their 2002 debut. For those unaware, Firewind is currently the main squeeze for guitar phenom Gus G., who also has lent his lead guitar to Dream Evil (for their first three albums) and Nightrage, among others. Firewind is unique, though, in that it is Gus’s sole creation and indisputably the star-vehicle where he can show off his sundry of talents in a glitzy manner unfitting for those other, more evenly balanced acts previously mentioned. Therefore, ‘Allegiance’ exhibits most of the expected pros and cons of the guitar hero tradition that metal fans have become accustomed to from the likes of Vai, Malmsteen, MAB, Friedman, Becker, Gilbert, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

With those forebears as the primary reference point, it’s also unsurprising to find that ‘Allegiance’s songwriting (and not just the soloing) leans heavily on the 80’s traditional metal and hard rock approach. Firewind have always blended those two with their modern power metal core, but rarely have they strayed so far from their origin as they do here. And so it follows in predictable completion of that 80’s metal pattern that sometimes Firewind’s engine rips and sometimes it putters, though at no point does ‘Allegiance’ entirely stall. Songs that succeed—the title track, ‘Ready To Strike’, ‘Till The End Of Time’—are those that draw mostly from Saxon, Iron Savior, even a little Gamma Ray, while songs that do not—‘Deliverance’, ‘The Essence’, ‘Where Do We Go From Here? —end up redolent of late-era Scorpions or Survivor.

Because the entirety of ‘Allegiance’ follows the exact same formula (intro riff/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/chorus repeat), pressure mounts inexorably on each following track to maintain a high level of interest and find new ways to avoid monotony. While a good handful of songs are unabashedly fun, towards the album’s end things becomes more frustrating; the decent enough ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’, for example, ends up sounding more like a muzak transcription of the end of ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ than a true, energizing power metal song.

With that critique constantly lurking, even Gus G.’s torrid solos, the fresh voice of Apollo (ex-Time Requiem), and a superb production job cannot fully bring ‘Allegiance’ up to the level of its members’ talents. However, in the end, it manages to be a safe purchase for fans of the band and makes for “great driving music,” (as one peer put it), which for many power metal fans is all that really matters.



--Etiam 04.24.07


Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.


All reviews for this band:
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
AllegianceFirewind
2006
Etiam7/6/2007
AllegianceFirewind
2006
Eric Compton8/31/2006
Between Heaven And HellFirewind
2002
Guest5/30/2003
Forged In FireFirewind
2005
Eric Compton6/9/2005



Interviews found from this band:
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE



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