Firewind - Burning Earth
Massacre Records
U.S. Style Power Metal
9 songs (44'39)
Release year: 2003
Firewind, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Marty
Firewind returns with their follow-up to last year's killer debut, Between Heaven And Hell. That album delivered some of the heaviest and yet still very melodic U.S. style power metal that I've heard in many years. This new one, Burning Earth sees the band with a new drummer, Stian Kristoffersen (Pagan's Mind) and a new bass player, Petros Christo (x-Breaking Silence). Returning are guitarist Gus G. (Dream Evil, Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage) and lead vocalist Stephen Fredrick (ex-Kenzinger). This album, like the band's debut, is also produced by guitarist turned producer David T. Chastain who also lends a hand in the songwriting, contributing to the track, I Am The Anger.

If there is a power metal band with a more "muscular" sound than Firewind, I'd sure like to hear it!! I was very impressed with Between Heaven And Hell and I was left with the impression that this is a band that has a clear vision of how they want to sound and have a maturity that is usually found with more established bands. Their melodic hard rock vocal style combined with a heavy metal guitar attack gives them a sound that reminds me of some of the classic Jag Panzer and Running Wild albums from years past. Obvious comparisons could also be made to the Painkiller era of Judas Priest as far as the attack of the riffs and the huge double bass drum sound. The guitar sound is huge with Gus G. double tracking all his rhythm parts giving a big thick Iced Earth style guitar tone. I Am The Anger sees the band using heavy and charging muted riffing combined with pummeling double bass drums to crank out something that sounds like Running Wild on steroids! Stephen Fredrick's voice really has the Rock 'N Rolf (Running Wild) sound on this one. He really has a great strong and very "loud" sounding voice that has similarities to Harry Conklin (Jag Panzer) and Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, MSG, Impelliteri). His soaring yet gritty vocal performance really separates this band from the pack as far as the rest of the power metal world. Slower and more pounding riffing graces tracks like Immortal Lives Young and You Have Survived whereas more speedier up-tempo riffing is found on the title track Burning Earth and Waiting Still. Gus G. proves why he is one of the bright stars in the heavy metal world these days with the instrumental track The Fire And The Fury (an obvious nod to Yngwie as the song title contains the titles of two different Yngwie songs). With some great heavy and almost "tribal" riffing and drums, he sprinkles in some Yngwie like scale flurries, some nice expressive soloing and great atmospheric changes to really showcase his talent as a top notch heavy metal guitar player.

Giving the depth of talent in Gus G.'s guitar playing, there's not really a lot of soloing on this album. Sure solos are there but only when the feel of the song warrants it. There's only a handful of tracks with really killer lead playing instead, more emphasis has been placed on the rhythms and melody lines for the songs.

One of the things I like best about this album is the variety in the types and styles of songs. Besides typical fast songs along and some slower pounding heavier ones, Firewind experiments a bit with different tempos and melodies that are somewhat uncharacteristic for a power metal band. Brother's Keeper uses more melodic and different vocal melody lines and The Longest Day, an ode to the fallen ones and an anti-war song, becomes a big epic power ballad with lots of emotion.

Infectious power metal with melody and a positive message just about sums this band up. The melodies, vocals and choruses to the songs have a more melodic hard rock feel to them but with a killer passionate style as delivered almost to perfection by Stephan Fredrick. Make no mistake though, this is one crunching heavy band with a sound right out of the 80's. My only fear with a band like this is that they don't become another Primal Fear in that their first couple of albums blow everyone away only to repeat themselves album after album. I see a maturity in this album over their first one and I hope they stay on the right track. Fans of 80's style U.S. power metal with a rip-your-face-off heaviness and solid passionate vocals and lots of melody should like just about everything on this album. They are one of the bright stars on the horizon on the power metal scene and along with others like Lost Horizon and Falconer are going to give all the other countless "Dragon Metal" bands a well-deserved kick in the ass. This is what power metal is supposed to sound like.......all others.....take note!

Killing Songs :
I Am The Anger, Immortal Lives On,The Fire And The Fury and Waiting Still
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Firewind that we have reviewed:
Firewind - Immortals reviewed by Joel and quoted 86 / 100
Firewind - Few Against Many reviewed by Bar and quoted 80 / 100
Firewind - Days Of Defiance reviewed by Erik and quoted 93 / 100
Firewind - The Premonition reviewed by Crims and quoted 82 / 100
Firewind - Allegiance reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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