Firewind - Forged By Fire
Greek stringbender Gus G. left Dream Evil to focus more on Firewind and that seemed to have been a wise choice since it sounds better from Firewind than earlier. Debuting on Century Media with their third effort, it is more focused and mostly with better songwriting as it sounds more of real band now than of the typical side-project with left over song ideas from Dream Evil that was the case with the debut album. Gus G. has made a name for himself with bands like Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, but perhaps most knows him from mentioned Dream Evil but now it is Firewind that gets his full attention.
Musically there is some to be found from Dream Evil, but also regarding Gus's guitar, a thought towards Rage and Victor Smolski which holds a similar style with his guitar, is worth mentioning. But perhaps it is mostly Axel Rudi Pell that comes to mind with fast driven tracks containing melodic refrains where the guitar is leading the way with a clean and crisp sound. Not a fast song, but with clear Pell influences, is the track Hate World Hero where the refrain is just in the typical Pell mid-tempo vein and the fact that Chity Sompala isn't that far vocally from Johnny Gioeli only enhances the similarities.
The vocals are handled by Chity Sompala, which is an amazing singer, but somehow he doesn't really get in to full gear as with his astonishing efforts on the debut from Swedish band Moonlight Agony. Still it sounds great, but I don't feel that he is getting out all of what he is capable of with his voice. Musically this is nothing but great, the members in Firewind seems to all know how make their instruments sound the best, but what lacks a bit is once again the songwriting that never really makes better than barely above average. It never gets any worse than the average either, but the songs are not strong enough to carry an entire album. And what is lacking the most is a sound of their own, it sounds like too much of others at many times and the genuine touch with a unique Firewind sound is really never there.