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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back.
Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P).
He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!
Now then rock fans (Shit! I went all Jimmy Saville for a minute then), we all know
that the current EU economic climate is seeing Greece ‘on its arse’
financially. One band trying to singularly get Greece ‘Back In Black’ is
Firewind. Based on the amount of people that saw them play the UK last year, it
will prove to be a tall order, but on the balance of hearing Few Against Many,
Firewind can give the Greek people some hope!
It’s been a busy few years for Firewind
and their talismanic leader, guitarist Gus G. With the critically acclaimed
“Days Of Defiance” record and subsequent world tour under their belts (as well as
Gus’ arena-filled tour of the world as Ozzy Osbourne’s right hand man), the band
headed straight back into the studio to begin work on what would become the
band’s latest, and definitely their heaviest, album “Few Against Many”.
Firewind originally formed in
Thessaloniki, Greece in 1998 but started in earnest after Gus moved to the
United States and put out a demo. The demo was well received and Gus signed
with Leviathan Records who put out the band’s first records, “Between Heaven
And Hell” and “Burning Earth”. The band began touring the world, including a
Japanese run and a worldwide deal with Century Media Records was soon signed.
The first album as part of that
deal (“Forged By Fire”) further established the band but it was the follow up
“Allegiance” that really put the band on the international map. Gus had finally
found the right members (with the arrival of Time Requiem singer Apollo
Papathanasio) and the subsequent two years of touring in support of
“Allegiance” (opening for Dragonforce and All That Remains) saw the band hit
three continents and clock up thousands of miles. The hard work paid off as
both "Allegiance" and the acclaimed follow up "The
Premonition" albums made it to the Top 10 in Greece and the
"Mercenary Man" single became a Top 5 hit. "The
Premonition" also charted in Japan, a territory that has majorly embraced
and supported the band since their inception.
“Few Against Many” marks a clear
next highlighting step forward in the band’s stellar career and showcases 10
extremely versatile and entertaining new songs, which amalgamate the undeniable
musical chops of all the involved players with truly effective and always
catchy song-writing, featuring of all the band’s trademarks.
Opening track ‘Wall Of Sound’ (the
album’s first single) has a furious opening riff, one that will certainly
blister the wallpaper in your living room and shows that Gus G’s soloing seems
to have gone up a notch if that’s at all possible. Also vocalist Apollo Papathanasio has
never sounded better. ‘Losing My Mind’s’ opening
section has a slightest hint of Dream Theater thrown in for good measure. ‘Glorious’
is more classic rock oriented than everything else on the album, I half expect
Klaus Meine to kick in with vocals. The other notable highlights are the strong
and very aggressive album’s title track as well as the infectious and soaring
chorus on ‘The Undying Fire’, and the atmospheric ‘Edge Of A Dream’, which
features a special guest appearance from Finnish cello-masters Apocalyptica.
Gus G’s playing on this album is exemplary. The reason, he’s not taken this
time to guitar frippery and wankery and keeps his playing strong and within the
confines of the songs. Couple this with Apollo’s very strong performance and
some of the best Power Metal this side of the Acropolis, and “Few Against Many”
is a monster of an album waiting to be unleashed upon the Metal masses.
The first half of the album is
definitely stronger than the second, but Firewind still have a strong album in ‘’Few
Against Many’’. At just 45 mins and a mere 10 tracks, Firewind have the flow
nailed down. Just because a CD can hold 80 mins doesn’t mean you have to fill
the thing. It’s the quality that counts. Without doubt ‘’Few Against Many’’ is
the best Firewind album to date. Production quality is top notch.
I doubt if sales will cure the
Greek economy, but Firewind are certainly out to put Greek culture on the map. Make
sure you come out and support them on tour in September. I’ll be at MoHo in Manchester
where you’ll get the chance to be within 6 feet of the guitar god that is Gus
G. How often does that happen?