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Firewind: Allegiance

Allegience is Firewind's fourth album and their best effort to date. We have reaped the rewards of guitarist Gus G's decision to concentrate on this band and withdraw from his other project, Dream Evil. As a result of the lineup changes, the band is now 3/5 Greek, anchored on the partnership with keyboardist Bob Katsionist. And they have a new singer, Apollo Papathanasio, power metal vocalist for hirer (Evil Masquerade, Majestic, Time Requiem) and he's really good. There's real character in his voice - along the lines of Jorn Lande, Mats Leven or Stephen Fredrick of Kenziner.

"Allegiance" is an Yngwie-like number that could hve been an outake from Facing the Animal. "Insanity" is full of crunch and speed and a a nice section where Bob and Gus were literally duplicating their solos. "Falling to Pieces" is the single, a pounding mid-midpaced track with Stratovarious-like keyboards - crank this one up. "Ready to Strike" is 2/3 Whitesnake and 1/3 Dio - and guitarwork that's Schenkeresque in virtuosity. "Breaking the Silence" is another heavy synthesizer track, a duet with a Swedish singer named Tara, with cool Thai-style keyboards and a short blistering solo. "Deliverance" is slower paced and heavy with a lot of acoustic touches and subdued drumming (from Mark Cross), and crescendoes into another Schenker-styled solo. It is easily one of the best tracks. "Till the End of Time" has speed in spades and some more great dueling between Bob and Gus, and a heavy intensity abounds in "Dreamchaser". "Before the Storm" is a Gary Moore-styled instrumental track, a moment to catch your breath. The album closes out with the anthem, "The Essence" (with an over-layered refrain), and "Where Do We Go from Here", with its Scorpions like double-takes.

I've heard this album three times now and I've just fallen in love with it. Yes, it's got that 1980s melodic metal / power metal sound, but the songwriting, musicianship (and out of this world soloing) are so good that it's the freshest and classiest album of its type that I've heard in quite a while.

Track Listing
1. Allegiance
2. Insanity
3. Falling to Pieces
4. Ready to Strike
5. Breaking the Silence
6. Deliverance
7. Till the End of Time
8. Dreamchaser
9. Before the Storm
10. The Essence
11. Where Do We Go From Here?

Added: January 8th 2007
Reviewer: John Larocque
Related Link: Firewind Website
Hits: 3670
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Firewind: Allegiance
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-01-08 18:14:19
My Score:

Here's a late 2006 release that, if you missed checking it out somehow, better get in your horse and get it in gear, cause Allegiance is one powerhouse metal platter from guitarist Gus G and the boys in Firewind. You see, Gus has basically dropped out of all his other projects like Dream Evil, Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, and a quick stint in Arch Enemy, to concentrate full time on Firewind, and judging by Allegiance, that was a good decision. We all know the man can play, and with keyboard ace/guitrist Bob Katsionis, bassist Petros Christo, drummer Mark Cross, and new singer Apollo Papthanasio by his side, Firewind are one potent power metal band.

There's just one killer track after another here, as the band rip through tunes that hint at classic bands like Whitesnake, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Helloween, Iced Earth, as well as newer groups like Jorn and Dragonforce. The combination of Katsionis' symphonic keyboards mixed with Gus' blistering guitar work on tracks like "Falling to Pieces" and "Insanity" really works wonders, and the band delivers what sounds like Whitesnake's "Children of the Night Part 2" on the rampaging "Ready to Strike", a speedy and crunchy rocker led by Gus G.'s lethal riffs and Papathanasio's Coverdale-ish vocals.

Killer riffs, memorable melodies, classy production, what more do you need? This is a winner all around folks!

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