Released: 2013, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Apotheosis was recorded live in 2012 and see’s the second live album from Firewind, but this album also adds more ammo in to the arsenal of killer albums from the guys. And if Live Premonition released in 2008 is anything to go by Apotheosis Live is sure to top that, and you can take my word for it here it bloody does
Now one of the hardest albums to review are always the Live ones, this is because you have to try to eliminate the crowd from the sound, but also at the same time try to immerse your very soul into the concert and the very night that the album was recorded. Firewind decided on something different for this release all 17 songs were recorded during special Anniversary shows throughout Greece and across Europe.
From the second you press the play button on this album you are greeted with the crowd chanting FIREWIND, and then the unforgettable explosion of Gus G blasts the dust from your speaker system, within seconds the unforgettable voice of Apollo Papathanasio (long term vocalist, who has since left the band) sends the fans into frenzy. And one thing is for sure the machine that is Firewind sure know how to entertain the crowd.
Now if I had not told you that the entire album was recorded across locations throughout the tour, you would think that it had been recorded on one night, the production quality of the mixing and mastering is second to none as each song just flows into the next with no break, but the feeling you get with the album is that the crowd sizes must have been a few hundred in size as the presence is not over powering as some live albums can be, and this is felt during Allegiance and A few against many (Tracks 3 and 4). One of the things that I like about this album is that every one of the guys can be heard From the thunder of the Bass drum, to the plucking of the bass strings…Not a single instrument has been singled out.
The Departure (track 5) now this I prefer Live to studio recording, the energy from the intro from the keyboard takes this track to a whole new level, it is one of those tracks that sends a shiver down your spine and tears the very fabric of your soul, the crowd interaction on this track has been mastered not to overpower the shredding from Gus G (which is a great skill) and not even the crowd should over shadow this master. World On Fire (Track 8) and what is one of my all time favourite songs from the guys is still as powerful and explosive today as it was when it was written in 2010, this track sends the crowd into complete madness and at the same time pushes each band member to reach and beg for more energy.
Gus G pushes the explosive intro and the crowd respond with a thunderous applause, and you can hear the crowd singing their very hearts out during the chorus…let me say this if you have never seen Firewind perform live, you have been missing out on one of the greatest shows and I highly recommend that you purchase a ticket and get to a show, because until you do experience Firewind up close your very soul has been missing out on a great night out with some amazing talented musicians
Of course a live album would not be complete without the feeling of a solo from one of the world’s masters, and track 9 of this album gives you that experience. Each note that Gus strums makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up right, this man is nothing but sheer talent and this continues into SKA (track 10) which is pure instrumental, SKA is one of those tracks very well mastered and contains pretty much what the genre of Metal is all about. Parts are crazy and fast whilst others are slow and have a ballad feel, but it has that extra touch where the song at times has a very 70’s feel.
As SKA allows you to catch a breath, it is very short lived before you are thrown back into a full on Assault with Between Heaven and Hell, and you are going to sweat like a madman, the one thing that really does impress me is that Apollo never misses a beat or struggles between the range that is required through each one of the songs chosen for the set list. This shows the sheer professional set that Firewind have always worked towards. With no feedback on any of the songs throughout the entire album, brings me to a thought (Did they record every single show and then chose the tracks or decide on the night which track was going to be recorded live)
Bob Katsionis shows how much of a talented piano play he really is in (Track12), this highly talented guy pushes what Firewind has stood for since the start, and that is they are very unique in what they do, and track 12 leads very well into Edge of A Dream. This ballad speaks so many words for so many people, and it is a track when played live brings everyone in the crowd together. Couples hold each other tight and friends put arms around each other, and a few years ago lighters would have been held in the air (This has changed to mobile phones thanks to the EU laws)
Maniac (Track16) one of the best covers I have ever heard. A massive improvement on the 1980’s original, and what a crowd pleaser this one is, it is one of those numbers that every fan hopes they get to hear on the night..And for me when I first heard this one a few years ago I was in fits of laughter..(Not best played loud from a car stereo) because you can get some very weird looks if you happen to be stopped at a set of traffic lights somewhere, but at the same time it is a very good track to work out to.
So what I can personally state about this album…. well nothing bad and that is for sure.
This is a must to add to your collection. A very well mastered album that brings together the best that Firewind have always been, and that is that they are Masters at their craft.
These guys know how to put together a great album, and show they love their fans.