April 2, 2024

Firewind was originally a vehicle to showcase the mercurial skills of Greek guitarist Gus G aka Konstantinos Karamitroudis who has had a thrilling career as guitarist with Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage and Dream Evil as well as numerous guest appearances with just about any rock band that matters but I’m certain that pride of place on his CV is reserved for his appearances with the Prince Of Darkness himself having featured Ozzy’s 2010 album Scream. However, it seems that Firewind was here to stay and so it rapidly became a real recording and touring band with a string of great metal albums in the bank and we now come to album number ten with Stand United following on from Firewind in 2020.

The new work has been eagerly anticipated given that it is the first new release in near four years but last year’s live set, Still Raging, has tempered the wait somewhat. The line-up has changed several times over the years but the same team that brought us Firewind has also been involved in Stand United with Gus again being imperious on guitar with stalwarts Petros Christodoulidis (bass) and Johan Nunez (drums) keeping the beast prowling and snarling and it is excellent news that German vocal maestro Herbie Langhans returns with his Dio-esque delivery that thrills to the core.

Of course, this is all about the sublime skills of Gus G as a guitarist extraordinaire but he is first and foremost a musician so he knows that to succeed this must be a band affair and not just a team of hired guns playing second fiddle to any guitar excesses. That is the true talent of the man as this is very much a band and each musician gives everything to ensure that it is the music that counts and not egos so you can rest assured that Firewind is the real deal and a band that should be with us for a long time to come.

The songs are all short, sharp attacks and all around the 4 to 5-minute mark so they are tight, succinct and straight to the point with no extended flights of fancy, just straight forward quality hard rock/power metal that hits harder that a sledgehammer to the head! Production duties are courtesy of the exquisite skillset of Dennis Ward of Pink Cream 69/Magnum/Unisonic fame and he definitely runs a very tight ship with nothing out of place and not a note wasted.

There is an interesting and very neat cover in Talking In Your Sleep, originally by the American New Wave band The Romantics with the song originally being a hit back in 1983, which Firewind has beefed up into a quite different hard rock classic that sits comfortably alongside the mother nine tracks on the record.

Firewind has always delivered premium hard rock and Stand United is as good as anything they have previously produced with Langhans being the final piece in the jigsaw to make Firewind one of the world’s premier rock bands. 

Stand United

  1. Salvation Day (4:23)
  2. Stand United (4:30)
  3. Destiny is Calling (3:55)
  4. The Power Lies Within (4:20)
  5. Come Undone (4:45)
  6. Fallen Angel (3:37)
  7. Chains (4:54)
  8. Land of Chaos (3:54)
  9. Talking in Your Sleep (4:11)
  10. Days of Grace (4:47)