Firewind - Between Heaven And Hell

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:59:00

Between Heaven And Hell is the booming, punch-filled debut from power band Firewind. Formed by fresh-faced 21-year old Gus G (Mystic Prophecy, Dream Evil), who graces us on this album with his keyboard and guitar virtuosity, this new band is going places.

This is one of those albums which, over about a week of intense playtime, got itself upgraded from three to four stars. I was ambivalent to it right at first, but after I really got to know it, I realised that I was enjoying it. A lot. No, a hell of a lot. On this album, Firewind exhibits a sound and feel which is similar to Dungeon's ... very, very similar. It's top quality stuff, a treasure for power metal fans to seek out. Powerful, energetic, well-produced, and showing off some really great talent, I have found almost nothing negative about Between Heaven And Hell.

Though the song/storywriting is not stunningly original, it makes up for that with absolutely fantastic musicianship and really, really catchy tracks. So far the ones which have snared me the most securely are "Warrior," "World of Conflict" and "I Will Fight Alone"; no doubt I'll have more tracks with their hooks in me as time goes on. Possibly the only really weak track is "Firewind Raging," which feels slightly forced and was not as enjoyable. Though it's not a fantasy album in the absolute sense, it does borrow themes from the genre, extolling the glories of swords and sorcery, war, courage, and battle. Slightly corny and unrealistic, yes, but by gods it's fun.

The impressive guitar and keyboardist Gus G does plenty of fingerdancing to delight us; particularly listen for the two instrumentals, "Ocean" and "Northern Sky," both written by him. Also keep an ear out in the last track, in which he basically stands up and yells "Hey! Listen to me! I rule!" by ripping out a section from Bach's "Violin Concerto In A Minor" on his guitar. Drum work is spot on and poundingly good throughout, courtesy of Brian Harris (formerly of Kenziner), and the startlingly silver-haired vocalist Stephen Fredrich (also ex-Kenziner) has a great gutsy voice full of just the right amount of manly gravel.

My only complaint with Between Heaven And Hell is perhaps that it's all a bit samey. Whenever I put this on, I always get sucked right into the first couple of tracks, but usually get the urge to put something else on about three-quarters of the way through. The ending track, the power love-ballad "Who Am I," is about the only one which really breaks the pattern with its gentle, melancholy introduction. Coming up to this one wakes up your attention again, like a fresh breeze to the face. Unfortunately it's a bit too late - being the last track and all.

I am very pleased to have nabbed this album for my collection, and recommend it highly. I also urge power-metal heads to keep an eye out for this young band, and see what it does next ? I know I will be waiting eagerly.

Similar to: Dungeon

Also released by Leviathan Records (20021-2)

[This review originally appeared July 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Between Heaven And Hell (4:49) / Warrior (4:41) / World Of Conflict (4:01) / Destination Forever (3:42) / Oceans (1:47) / Tomorrow Can Wait (5:37) / Pictured Life (3:33) / Firewind Raging (4:23) / I Will Fight Alone (5:06) / Northern Sky (4:47) / Fire (4:36) / Who Am I (5:16)

Gus G - guitar, keyboards
Brian Harris - drums
Konstantine - bass
Stephen Fredrick - vocals

Between Heaven And Hell (2002)
Burning Earth (2003)
Forged By Fire (2005)
Allegiance (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin GR

Added: December 14th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 1162
Language: english


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