Firewind - Immortals album review

Ozzy’s axeman gets back to his roots

A press shot of Firewind

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Gus G once remembered his decision to quit as a fill-in guitarist for Arch Enemy and return instead to his band Firewind, telling Hammer: “I was becoming a musical hooker.” And then Ozzy Osbourne came a-calling, forcing Firewind onto the backburner yet again.

The band’s on-off status has inevitably caused casualties and studio album number seven promotes Henning Basse, singer of Gus’s eponymous group and once a temporary tour stand-in, to permanent replacement for the long-serving Apollo Papathanasio. The band’s first conceptual release, Immortals details a bloody battle that took place in Gus’s homeland back in 480BC. Papathanasio was always a bit of an Achilles’ heel, so the switch of vocalists represents a definite upgrade. From the opening notes of Hands Of Time, a mid-paced showcase for G and keysman Bob Katsionis to engage in a fiery duel, to closing track Rise From The Ashes, it’s glaringly obvious that Gus has the bit between his teeth, relishing in the challenge of once again mastering his own destiny. If technoflash guitar heroism and rousing metal anthems is your thing – and if not, what are you doing here? – then Immortals is guaranteed to get the blood pumping.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.