FIREWIND – Allegiance

FIREWIND - Allegiance


Century Media
Release Date: July 24, 2006

User Review
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For some the phrase “Firewind” might only inspire memories of Scorpions’ guitarist Uli Jon Roth’s solo opus and title track of the same name. The phrase “Firewind” should take on new meaning in 2006 for any music fan who gives this new gem, Allegiance, by Grecian Rockers Firewind a fair chance. Allegiance represents Firewind’s fourth release and it comes accompanying more outstanding Gus G. guitar playing as well as a new competent vocalist and drummer.

Last year Gus G. was very much a “wanted man,” in a good sense, as he was playing in bands like Nightrage, Mystic Prophecy, and Dream Evil, as well as appearing as a stand-in guitarist for Arch Enemy during Ozzfest 2005. Gus pushed all that aside to concentrate fully on Firewind, and he quickly managed to announce Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Majestic, Time Requiem) as the new vocalist, and Mark Cross (ex-Helloween, ex-Metalium) as the new drummer for the band. Thankfully, all pieces of the puzzle fit together so well, because, simply put, Allegiance is a Melodic Power Metal/Melodic Hard Rock masterpiece that ends up ranking in the Top Ten of 2006 releases!

This eleven-track opus really has no bad tracks on it. Any attempts to slow the pace down are rescued by a heavy riff and a piercing solo by Gus G. The feel of the album is only slightly diverse in that any given track falls into either of two categories; Melodic Power Metal or Melodic Hard Rock.

Opener and title track, “Allegiance,” is pure Melodic Power Metal. A heavy guitar riff and confident vocals by Papathanasio drive the entire song with the chorus reeling it back into a more melodic, catchy song.

The next track, “Insanity,” is one of the highest of the highlights with a driving riff and a bunch of “insane” guitar fills by Gus. This track should prove to any “Doubting Thomas” that Gus G. is definitely a guitar hero for the new age. The solo in this one is so grandeur that it makes a very powerful statement as a cellular ringtone (hint, hint). Gus also shows wonderful restraint throughout this release by not partaking in any overly self-indulgent, strung out solos. He prefers to be crisp, sharp, and to the point, as well as taking pride in playing some nice complex rhythms.

“Falling To Pieces” is the first track from this album to be released as a single and a video. The track really works well as a single … very catchy. Once again, Apollo takes part of the spotlight away from Gus, by delivering an impressive vocal performance (until Gus’ lead kicks in, of course).

“Ready To Strike” is a straight-up, no frills Rocker. Never mind that it sounds like Sykes-era Whitesnake, it’s still a riveting, high-energy track … until the piano accompanied mid-section, which seems like a setup (you can feel the tension here) for a blistering Gus solo. Apollo does chime in with a strong Coverdale-like impression. He does seem to exude tinges of Gary Barden and Coverdale on this release, and he performs with excellent English enunciation, which makes him quite a find!

“Breaking The Silence” has a slight Symphonic feel and is a duet with Swedish singer/songwriter Tara. Keyboards, a bobbing bass line, and a driving, heavy guitar riff all come together around the two vocalists to make for a compelling track. If you’ve never heard Tara’s singing, she is comparable to Queensrÿche’s Pamela Moore, and she really complements Apollo well here, especially during the wonderful chorus. Oh yes, worthy of mention again is another blistering lead accompanying this track. Surprised?

“Deliverance” slows the pace down a slight bit, but the band keeps things interesting with their little nuances such as heavy guitar riffs, power drumming, tasteful keyboards, etc.

“Dreamchaser” is a high-throttled, mini-Speed Metal thumping tune with double bass aplenty (this drummer has definitely worked with Helloween before). The track just ends up showing this band’s diversity, how they can go from Hard Rock to Power Metal in a single breath.

The remaining tracks all deserve mentioning, but the comments would be repetitive because all songs have the same distinct qualities … polished, crisp, exact, professional!

A lot has been written here about Gus’ and Apollo’s performance, but make no mistake that the rhythm section of Christo and Cross are no less menial. It’s evident by some of the power drumming here that Cross was once a Helloween drummer. And, last but not least, is Katsionis, whose keyboards grace each and every track adding color to the “soundscape.” There just seems to be a wonderful chemistry at work here overall.

Bottom line, you’ll be sorry if you don’t at least pay a visit to their MySpace site and hear some of these tracks and view the “Falling To Pieces” video. This is a wonderful package containing plenty of memorable moments, top-notch musicianship and a “Guitar Hero” to boot. This is a 2006 Top Ten entry that will be hard to beat! Say your prayers and hope that this is just the beginning of many more wonderful albums by this quintet (or sextet if you include Tara … please!).

For fans outside the USA (you lucky bastages), make sure to catch Firewind on tour passing through several countries throughout the rest of the 2006 year, alongside Dragonforce (who also had a strong release this year), which should make for an absolutely wonderful show!

Update: Century Media released information this week that they (Century Media Records) have set Allegiance for a January 23rd release in the US & Canada. Guess some of us have to wait or pay Import prices.


Apollo Papathanasio – Vocals
Gus G. – Guitar
Petros Christo – Bass
Bob Katsionis – Keyboards & Guitars
Mark Cross – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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