FIREWIND Gig review

FIREWIND Gig review
Support Acts: BREED 77 / PRIMITAI

London Relentless Garage, 7th January 2011

Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis

Playing the six string for a legend of Metal such as Ozzy Osbourne is a dream that every guitar player would wish to live. That very dream became reality for a young chap from Thessaloniki/Greece named Kostas Karamitroudis, otherwise known as Gus G, in August 2009 when the Prince Of Darkness asked him to help him record his latest opus “Scream” and subsequently tour the globe with him. Fortunately for fans of good quality Hard Rock & Heavy Metal music, Gus decided not to give up on his childhood dream band Firewind, with which he recently released an album of immense quality entitled “Days Of Defiance”, part of the promotion for which found him visiting London on the night of the 7th of January for what turned out to be the band’s first ever sold out show on UK soil.

Opening for the Greek virtuoso were two bands, the first being a London based classic Heavy Metal orientated quintet by the very unusual name Primitai. Starting their set round half an hour after the doors were opened meant that the young Londoners had a pretty satisfactory number of people to perform their fine blend of ‘Maiden meets Priest’ metal and it was indeed not long before a significant number of people began to bang their heads to the rhythm of their fine compositions. Sporting a pre-“Cowboy’s From Hell” Pantera t-shirt, vocalist Guy Miller did his best to attract the attention of the audience, helped by an impressive twin guitar melodic attack Clearly influence by the works of the legendary duo Smith/Murray. The band had to cope with a less than satisfactory sound but what they lacked there they made up in energy and passion, leading many people, myself included, to say after the show that this band might just be the best known secret in the UK scene at the moment. Let’s hope that we will see more of them in the near future!

Breed 77 is a band whose musical orientation is far more modern than that of both Primitai & Firewind, blending elements of Alternative Metal with Flamenco. Looking at the crowd that gathered in the middle of the venue minutes after the band hit the stage, one could clearly detect many people wearing t-shirts with the band’s logo and these were the same people that ensured that a healthy relationship was achieved between the band and the crowd throughout the forty five minute set. Though I cannot say that I am a fan of this kind of music, it would be criminal not to recognise how professionally the band behaved throughout their show, with vocalist Paul Isola stealing the show, trying constantly to engage all those hardened Firewind fans who preferred to stand at the back of the venue with a pint of lager in their hands, waiting patiently for Gus G and the crew to hit the stage. The songs that were performed that night and which received the warmest response were those featured in the band’s 2009 release “Insects” as well as their impressive cover to The Cranberries’ classic “Zombie” – one that met the approval of the vast majority of the crowd.

The sound that had significantly improved throughout the Breed 77 set became crystal clear the moment Gus G and his troops graced us with their presence, kick-starting the proceedings with the amazing “The Ark Of Lies” – the opening track of the band’s latest opus “Days Of Defiance”. This outfit has improved immensely throughout the years and it is nice to see all the hard work that they have put in finally paying off. With vast amounts of energy and enthusiasm that can only be described as positively contagious, the Greek outfit took us on a musical journey that covered all six of the band’s full length releases but which mainly focused, as expected, on material from their two latest diamonds “the Premonition” and “Days Of Defiance”. Gus was in a diabolical mood and singer Apollo Papathanassiou looked much more confident and commanding than during his previous appearance on British soil, constantly interacting with the audience in between some phenomenal performances of classics “Angels Forgive Me”, “Head Up High” and numerous different solos performed by Gus, Bob (Katsionis: keyboards) and the newest member of the band, drummer Michael Ehré. Bassist Petros Christodoulidis was absent due to sickness but was successfully replaced by Anders Hammer of Nightrage fame. Following a very well balanced set whose highlight was not only the rhythmical opus “Mercenary Man” but also the amazing cover to Michael Sembello’s classic “Maniac”, the band left the stage, only to return minutes later and perform the epic “Into The Fire”, “I Am The Anger” and the equally impressive “Falling To Pieces”.

I am really pleased to see this band growing with every release as I find that the impressive blend and fine balance of Hard Rock and Classic Heavy Metal that is so clearly audible in their last two studio albums is very rare in the music scene nowadays. Tonight, Gus once again proved not only that Ozzy made the right decision in asking him to join his band but also that the ‘union’ with this leading figure of Rock music is not going to jeopardise the career of this great band. If, for whatever reason, you chose not to be at the Relentless Garage on the night of the 7th of January you missed a great show, and if you do not believe me, then ask all those people who left the venue with a massive smile on their faces!

Set List:

Main Set:
1. The Ark Of Lies
2. Head Up High
3. Destination Forever
4. Keyboard Solo
5. Angels Forgive Me
6. World On Fire
7. Guitar Solo
8. The Fire And The Fury
9. Drum Solo
10. Insanity
11. Heading For The Dawn
12. Chariot
13. My Loneliness
14. Mercenary Man
15. Brother’s Keeper
16. Till The End Of Time
17. Maniac [Cover]
18. Tyranny

Encore:
1. Into The Fire
2. I Am The Anger
3. Falling To Pieces


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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