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Firewind - 'Few Against Many' (Century Media) 4/5

This is album number eight from Greek metal gods Firewind and main project of Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G.

Now I am a bit of a Firewind fan I will confess, their 2008 album The Premonition being a particular fave of mine. So I was a bit excited about getting this one to say the least. However having lived with it for a while now, I will say I'm finding it a bit of a double edged sword.

On the up side this album is a pretty good exercise in power metal. There are 10 tracks on show, all of a high standard. Gus G is in fine form, check out the wonderful shred and widdle solo on Losing My Mind for an example of a guitar hero at is best. Vocalist Apollo Papathanasio shows once more that he is one of the most distinctive and engaging vocalist in metal at the moment. As for the music, well tracks like Another Dimension with its driving riffs and the huge anthalmic Glorious are all first rate examples of modern commercial metal.

However I do one issue with this album and that's the production.To my ears its a bit too well produced, everything is polished to perfection, and whilst on tracks like the chilled out and introspective Edge of A Dream it works well, in other places the stacked vocals and layered guitar lines and big keyboard wash only serves to take the cutting edge off the whole thing. Riffs that should kill merely stun, solos that should blow the mind tend just to titillate... I dunno may be its a personal thing on my side, but I like my metal with a little bit of the rough edges left on.

Still that gripe aside I can't really say anything negative about this one, and the fact that its topped the Greek album charts and is generating highly favourable fan reviews means they are doing something right here, and more power to Firewind for that.

Pretty Good Overall

For fans of... Helloween, Dragon Force, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Primal Fear....

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