Album Review: Firewind - Stand United

Album Review: Firewind - Stand United

Heavy Power Metal titans Firewind have returned with their milestone 10th studio album; Stand United. The legendary guitarist Gus. G (Ozzy Osbourne, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil) blasts the universe with electrifying riffs and solid song-writing accompanied by a  line-up of incredible musicians and powerfully commanding vocals from Avantasia's Herbie Langhans. Picking up from exactly where they left off with their self-titled record of 2020, you know exactly what you're going to get and that isn't necessarily a bad thing in every case. Sometimes, a little bit of familiarity and reliability is exactly what is needed.

Gus. G says of the record:

"I wouldn't exactly call Stand United a classic concept album, but the title indicates what we're about thematically. This world seems to be getting more and more out of balance, what with environmental disasters, the pandemic, the ward currently raging all over the globe. In such times, it's more important than ever for mankind to stand close together instead of fighting each other. That's what Stand United is about!"

Kicking things off with opening track 'Salvation Day', a pure homage to all things 80s Heavy Metal with soaring solos, thunderous yet rhythmical drums and retro synths. The basslines are heavy and perfectly compliment Langhans' incredibly commanding vocal abilities. The title track gallops in to the forefront with a fevered intensity that doesn't give up at any point. Chant-worthy, powerful choruses, frantic shredding and intricately precise riffs. There is an air of determination about this track; a call to arms, a desperate message of hope and a collective promise to never give up. 'Destiny Is Calling' follows in the same vein but with the added benefit of catchy synths and chugging riffs. 'The Power Lies Within' opens with a heavy, groove-laden bassline and chugging riffage supporting a short, yet impactful solo. This mid-tempo stomp has a commanding presence as it trudges along before building in to an electrifying chorus and flying solos.

'Come Undone' is straight up, epic power metal full of ethereal 80s style synths, dramatic atmosphere and theatrical flair. Thunderous drums take centre-stage here with rousing, emotive vocals. 'Fallen Angel' comes in swinging with attitude, catchy hooks and bounding drums. 'Chains' carries on in a mid-tempo pace with subtle and haunting synths, adding an extra layer of atmosphere to the already robust, swaying melodies.

As the record descends in to its concluding section, 'Land Of Chaos' soars and alternates between rising melodies and deafening, invigorating attitude. 'Talking In Your Sleep' is a cover of the 80s pop-rock classic originally recorded by The Romantics but it has been given an epic heavy metal makeover. Finally, 'Days Of Grace' is an acoustic-led conclusion full of emotion and power but compared to the vigour of the rest of the album, this would have been much better placed in the middle of the record as a palette cleanser rather than a concluding number. Nevertheless, the band's musical prowess and vocal abilities are well established here.

Over 20 years down the line, Firewind have once again provided an intoxicating blend of rousing, heavy power metal and catchy hard rock full of muscular riffs, demanding attitude and a sense of positivity. A stellar record for die-hard fans of Gus. G and the power metal genre.

Rating: 7/10
Release Date: March 1st 2024
Released By: AFM Records
FFO: Helloween, Hammerfall, Gus. G, Stratovarius

Track List:

01 - Salvation Day
02 - Stand United
03 - Destiny Is Calling
04 - The Power Lies Within
05 - Come Undone
06 - Fallen Angel      
07 - Chains
08 - Land Of Chaos      
09 - Talking In Your Sleep
10 - Days Of Grace

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