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Firewind - Immortals album review

Ozzy’s axeman gets back to his roots

A press shot of Firewind

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.