Firewind – Between Heaven and Hell

Reviewed: October 2002
Released: 2002, Leviathan Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Rick

God Damn!!!! In the last month or so there have been 2 CDs that have rarely left my Cd player. The first is the godly debut of Dream Evil titled DRAGONSLAYER. The second is this disc from another new yet talented band called Firewind. The name of the CD is BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL and it was released on Leviathan Records. There is a thread that ties both Dream Evil and Firewind together. It is none other than Greek guitar wizard Gus G. He is a member of both Dream Evil and Firewind and by the lords of metal does he ever help create some of the best metal this side of the Milky Way. Firewind was born out of the collaboration of Gus G., vocalist Stephen Fredrick (ex- Kenziner), Brain Harris (Vainglory, Zanister, Michael Harris)on drums and Konstantine: bass. The CD was produced by guitar great David Chastain and mixed by famed producer (Hammerfall Arch Enemy) and Dream Evil guitarist Fredrik Nordstrom.

I happened across this band when I was downloading MP3s. Thank the metal lords for the medium of MP3 or I would never have known about such an excellent band and awesome release. “I Will Fight Alone” was my introduction to the group and it was one of the best traditional metal songs that I have heard in a very long time. When I finally tracked Firewind down on Leviathan Records and got the disc I was blown away. There was a full CD of great metal tracks. BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL opens with the title track and it’s a double bass blasting romp that quickly establishes that Firewind are a band too keep an eye on. “Warrior” follows with what is one of the best, if not the best song on the CD. Melodic yet aggressive, Stephen Fredrick shines here as his rough yet powerful vocals help elevate Firewind above the glut of melodic metal that is being released today. Gus G. gets to flaunt his six string talents on a couple of instrumentals. The first is the melancholy “Oceans” which is followed later in the disc by “Northern Sky”. On this track the guitar basically takes the vocalist spot and Gus gets to show off his chops. He has got to be one of the best guitar players in metal today. Its not his speed that makes Gus so good, its his feeling. And I will take feeling any day over blinding speed. They close the disc out with the ballad “Who Am I”. A track that shows a darker more melancholy side to the band and also establishes Fredrick’s diversity as a vocalist.

I had the opportunity to pose some questions to both Stephen and Gus not too long ago and the resultant interviews are in the Interview Section. Very interesting reads and a great insight into what makes a band like Firewind tick. What more can I say about this CD and band? Its not everyday a great group like this comes along. They certainly have something special going and I am already waiting rather impatiently for the sophomore release!


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