Firewind - Forged By Fire
Century Media
Melodic Power Metal
11 songs (49'31)
Release year: 2005
Firewind, Century Media
Reviewed by Marty
Guitarist Gus G. recently quit Dream Evil in order to concentrate more on Firewind, his main band. Not only that, problems with lead vocalist Stephen Fredrick not being able to commit to the touring schedule lead to the decision to replace him. Firewind's new vocalist is Sri Lanka native Chitty Sompala and his singing style encompasses many elements from such classic lead vocalists as Ronnie James Dio and Klaus Meine (Scorpions) and although gives the band a more melodic 80's style of heavy metal, the riffs are still as huge as ever. This album is also marks the band's debut for their new label, Century Media Records. The first single to be released is the track Tyranny and some copies of this new album feature a multimedia section with the video for Tyranny as well as live footage and video shot during the making of this album.

Firewind's first two albums, Between Heaven and Hell and Burning Earth were excellent U.S. power metal style albums that had big monstrous riffs, lots of speed as well as slow pounding riffs and a solid vocal foundation. I commented in my review for Burning Earth that I hoped that this band wouldn't suffer the stagnation that a lot of power metal bands seem to have succumbed to. With Forged By Fire, a lot of the same elements in sound are still there but there's a major shift towards a more 80's style melodic heavy metal that although is sometimes still crushing and heavy, has lots of emotion. The opening track, Kill To Live is a big "meaty" power metal song that comes across as a power metal version of the classic Dio style. Gus G.'s use of guitar harmonic squeals and squawks (which I hate by the way!!!) gives the song the impression that it's Zakk Wylde on guitar and not Gus G. It's a solid track but not one of the better ones and not a good choice for the album opener. Things get back to business with Beware The Beast, an absolute killer track that uses pull-off riffs much like Slayer's Angel Of Death but without the sinister feel. This one has a big heavy sound, a huge chorus and killer double bass drums throughout. Tyranny as previously mentioned, is the first single from the album and consists of killer sustaining and meaty riffs with a Helloween I Want Out style of pull-off riffing. This one also has a great chorus and some neo-classically flavored guitar interludes. Guitarist James Murphy (Metal Church) does a guest solo on the track The Forgotten Memory which sees Firewind getting back to the heavy U.S. power metal of their first two albums but with a subtle change to a more softer and melodic chorus. Hate World Hero just oozes with Scorpions influences and since their one of Gus' favorite bands, I'm not too surprised. With a mix of quiet, clean guitar and crunching heavier sections, this song has all the staples of 80's Scorpions and even a little Bon Jovi for the chorus section. The Scorpions influence carries through to the chorus of the next track, Escape From Tomorrow. The song is a feast if you love charging double-bass fueled power metal. Gus G. gets to show off a little with the instrumental track Feast Of Savages and enlists the help of guitarist Marty Friedman (Cacophony, Megadeth) in the process. A wild track, it's filled with speedy lead guitar gymnastics and some great chugging heavy sections. The rest of the album is solid but no real standout tracks except that the song Perished In Flames is worth a mention. With it's ode to Black Sabbath as far as slower doom-laden riffs, it sounds a lot like the Tony Martin era of Sabbath (Headless Cross, Eternal Idol, Tyr, Cross Purposes). The Japanese version of this album contains the bonus track I Confide which is a quiet and somber song with just clean guitar and voice and once again, the Scorpions influence abounds.

Overall, I'm very impressed with new vocalist Chitty Sompala. He puts a lot of heart and emotion into his singing and allows Firewind to broaden their horizons. There's several tracks on Forged By Fire that sound very much like the material on their first two albums but there's also a few that show a departure to a more melodic, but still very heavy style. I like the direction that Firewind's taking with this album but it lacks a bit of the energy and fury of their first two albums. Aside from that, Firewind has once again delivered another fine power metal album and if you're a fan of the Priest, Scorpions, Accept heavy metal style, there's lots to like about Forged By Fire.

Killing Songs :
Beware The Beast, Tyranny and Escape From Tomorrow
Marty quoted 78 / 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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