Gus G. - Firewind
When I knew that I was finally going to get to interview Kostas Karamitroudis, otherwise known as Gus G. of Firewind, I was ecstatic, always holding my head up high. I had met this mercenary man when I saw Firewind breaking the silence with Edguy last fall. I absolutely love the new CD: The Premonition. This is an album that will definitely be remembered by the true power metal fans. We discussed the new album, and the "Tyrant & Bloodshred Tour".
I also was afforded ample opportunity to meet with all the other members of the circle of life in Firewind like: Apollo Papathanasio, Bob Katsionis, Petros Christo, and Mark Cross. I briefly spoke with them about their other projects, and their artistic contributions to The Premonition.
In my opinion, Firewind are the next Stratovarius, so listen to what all members, especially Gus, have to say about this evolution renaissance.
MettleAngel: Hey Brother, it is so cool to see you again. Do you remember when we last met, you were touring in the fall with Edguy. While Edguy played, we just sat at the bar and talked. I showed you my knowledge for Greek, I even wrote your actual name in Greek penmanship.
MettleAngel: We were going to schedule an interview back then, but too much happened which kept us from following through; sadly it never came to pass, but here we are now, and even your band is here to join in.
MettleAngel: I did not even know there was
a new album in the works, so quickly after Allegiance.
MettleAngel: Oh I do, but I got confused, because Henning Basse was doing vocals for the tour, and when he talked about a new album, I just assumed he meant Metalium. Then again, they also just released new material. Anyway, it seems you already had these songs in mind, and they are quite good. I honestly feel that The Premonition is my favorite release of the year, so far. I heard it way back on Bill Peters "Metal On Metal" Radio Show on www.wjcu.org. He played it as early as February, he usually gets new music, so quickly. Once I heard the new songs, I knew I had to obtain a copy from Century Media to write my review.
MettleAngel: I love everything about it, from the opening Metallica type intro, right to the ending cut 'Life Forclosed' with it's crunchy Megadethish vibe.
MettleAngel: I assume the title of the song is also an homage to early Metallica?
MettleAngel: You know, 'Fight Fire With Fire', 'Jump In The Fire', etc.
MettleAngel: That makes sense! There are such powerful and positive lyrics as well, all throughout.
MettleAngel: Bob, watching you play live is amazing! I have never seen anyone shred on guitar and keys simultaneously, save maybe Pedro Paixao Passionis of Moonspell.
MettleAngel: That's different, When he play keys for Rush, he is not playing guitar, but only bass; but still he is a gifted genius! Gus, let's discuss the awesome cover of Michael Sembello's 'Maniac' on The Premonition, how did that come about?
MettleAngel: Have you ever heard of a band from Italy called Sigma, they also did their version of it?
MettleAngel: Yeah, just like the Greek letter, they performed it in '98 on their self-titled release, but you're version is way better! The movie it is from, Flashdance, is deplorable, we couldn't even sit through the whole movie, but I love the soundtrack. It's the same with Saturday Night Fever.
MettleAngel: It is a fantastic take on the pop track, a lot of bands are stepping out of their respective genres to do covers, but this just fits Firewind's sound so well.
MettleAngel: With pop covers you give your own personal edge, your own touch, you basically metalize it.
MettleAngel: Plus, pop songs from the '80s have so much commercial appeal. Even if you do not like the original song you still know, it will be cool once a metal band takes a stab at it. Look at Gamma Ray's cover of the Pet Shop Boys' 'It's A Sin', you can't even recognize that it's a cover. Then again the song 'Gamma Ray' is also an old dance club song, so go figure.
MettleAngel: Yes, and given your age, you actually look back on this music, while my wife and I lived through it.
MettleAngel: Absolutely, all those '80s bands had some appeal. Whether it was New Order, Michael Jackson, or even Duran Duran, whom Gothic Knights did a mean version of 'Hungry Like The Wolf'. Many metal bands are putting their own unique touch on those songs and I think that is noble. But, getting back to the new album, even before I received the promo I saw everyone comparing the opening track to Metallica.
MettleAngel: Then you counterpoint that with the next song sounding similar to Dio/Heaven & Hell, then Thin Lizzy takes over with your first single for 'Mercenary Man'...
MettleAngel: I mean the vocal style of 'Mercenary Man' is very reminiscent of Phil Lynott. The guitar tone is very Gary Moore.
MettleAngel: Yes, and in my review I said you have the album so completely balanced. The main difference between The Premonition and Allegiance, is that Allegiance is very commercial with a lot of female vocals and more keyboard layers; whereas, The Premonition is heavier but still catchy, such that within two to three listens, you find yourself joyfully singing along.
MettleAngel: I agree with that statement. After all, I became a fan overnight, after having seen you guys perform live with Edguy. In fact, The Premonition is now my favorite album of the year, along with new Whitesnake, Death Angel, Black Tide, and a few others.
MettleAngel: The new Whitesnake is awesome! It totally takes me back to their glory days. This is where they should have gone after the self-titled release. This is the direction which is most befitting their sound. Their is a solid mix of the late 70's era with early 80's. It sounds like that album, plus Slide It In, Good To Be Bad, and Snakebite. It's easily the best album they have had in years. Same with the new Def Leppard.
MettleAngel: It's sounds like Adrenalize meets Euphoria. Vivian is finally doing some solo work again. I have not guitar that pronounced since Holy Diver. I digress, though, so let's get back to the interview. I understand that Firewind just shot a video for 'Mercenary Man', correct?
MettleAngel: Will it be a live DVD? I know that the special edition version of The Premonition includes a bonus DVD with four live tracks recorded live in Thessaloniki on January 12, 2008.
MettleAngel: That sounds quite promising. So, this is your second American tour right? Last time you also performed for Prog. Power. Have you found that you have gained a lot more fans in the states?
MettleAngel: I'm so grateful that I was able to see you both times. I look forward to seeing you again soon. Thank you so much for finally doing this interview. I appreciate the other guys joining in while they could, as well. I wish the band all the best!