Jimmy Kay from The Metal Voice Spoke with Ex- Ozzy Osbourne guitarist GUS G along with his guitar (who is in lock down in Greece) on The Metal Voice Facebook live. Subjects- Playing with Ozzy, New self titled Firewind Album, riff for fans and Q & A.
Tell me about the Coronavirus situation in Greece?
"In Greece we are on a total lock down, you need written permission to leave the house. You are only allowed to go grocery shopping or go to the doctor stuff like that. Last week some people drove about an hour away where there were beaches to escape the city and a lot of people got fines for that. This is a new thing, it's pretty serious, I understand it's tough to stay home but we have to do it. This is the time to play by the rules, for the sake of humanity. "
What is the difference between your new album and albums you have done in the past?
"First of all there is another new singer (Herbie Langhans), also another difference is guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis is not in the band anymore so there is less keyboards. It's kind of like a reboot, a restart of the band. It's still a Firewind record, people will hear the resemblance on a lot of the tracks cause I am the primary songwriter in the band. It's also a different record compared to the last album 'Immortals'. The last album was a concept album that was epic and power metal album. Whereas this new one I feel is a little bit of a collection of elements that sum up Firewind over the years with a new approach. There is also a lot of variation on the record. The first single we put out 'Rising Fire' is kind of like more hard rock, stomping, heavy, then there are other tracks that are more epic power metal, then we also have this big ballad with orchestration by Adam Wakeman."
What did Herbie the new singer bring to the table on the new album?
"He was a great addition and was a great help on this record because we were on a tight deadline and he got to work right away on the lyrics and melodies. We worked every day and was easy to work with and helped a lot in bringing the album to completion."
What did you think about Ozzy's new album Ordinary Man?
"I have to say I like the album. I am happy to see Ozzy recovering and being creative in his downtime. I thought the production was very cool stripped down, back to basics production but still very big and clear. I think there are some really good songs on the record. "
Do you ever wish you got the chance to write an album with Ozzy?
"I think it would have been nice to write something from scratch with Ozzy, I never got that chance to sit down and properly write an album with him. But you have to understand Ozzy Osbourne the solo artist is not what it was in the 80's where he had a band. Now he writes with different people, tries out different things and I get it. I always take the best out of each situation. I played on one of his studio albums, how cool is that?
New Firewind self-titled 9th studio album will be released on May 15th on AFM
01. Welcome To The Empire
03. Rising Fire
04. Break Away
05. Orbitual Sunrise
06. Longing To Know You
07. Perfect Stranger
09. All My Life
10. Space Cowboy
11. Kill The Pain
Each time Firewind released an album over the last 20 years, it wasn’t just the brilliancy of exceptional guitarist Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil) that fans were in awe of, but also the skills of every one of the band’s vocalists. Fantastic riffs, hooks and solos by the gifted hands of guitarist Gus aside, it’s the great vocal melody – an integral part of every Firewind song – that’s causing a stir. In that respect nothing has changed in their newest album, simply titled Firewind, quite the contrary: with his charismatic voice new member Herbie Langhans (Avantasia, Radiant, Seventh Avenue, amongst others) refines each and every last one of the ten new songs and infuses them with an expressive force that is remarkable. “With Herbie I feel like we’re doing a relaunch of the original Firewind cast, because his singing style bears a certain resemblance to that of Stephen Fredrick, our first
vocalist,” comments Gus. “I’m proud and happy that we can continue with the tradition of great Firewind vocalists thanks to Herbie.” On 15 May 2020 at the latest, when Firewind will be released via AFM, the public will hear just how competently new band member Langhans has stepped up to this challenge.
Gus G and Herbie Langhans got to know each other back in the autumn of 2019, when the Firewind leader was looking for a suitable replacement for Henning Basse after the tour with Queensrÿche. “I remembered Herbie singing for Sinbreed and how amazed I always was by his vocal performance”, he recalls. “So I did some research on YouTube, had my record company reach out to him and got right down to it: ‚Hi Herbie, here are ten new songs, can you help us? Deadline is mid of January.‘ Luckily, Herbie agreed immediately and got familiarised with everything in no time.” Just a few weeks later the recordings for Firewind were a done deal, ready for Swedish sound engineer Tobias Lindell (Europe, Avatar, H.E.A.T.) to mix them in ‚Lindell Audio Studios‘.
The result is impressive indeed. Firewind boasts 11 prime examples of Melodic Metal songs. The skill, craftsmanship and power bleeds through every note, a passion you can almost taste, with hymnal melodies as a particularly outstanding feature. Stylewise, the band actually broadened their range compared to earlier releases: With 'Welcome To The Empire' and ‘Rising Fire’ you’ll get your typical Firewind blend. Whereas ‘Overdrive’ dressed in a groovy rhythm and reminiscent of Dio/Black Sabbath (Gus: “That was a new direction for me. The song was supposed to be just a little bonus number but it took on a life on its own and was doing so well that it just had to be on the album”) and ‘Space Cowboy’ in all its retro flair glory will take you by surprise. But there’s still more: ‘Orbitual Sunrise’, ‘Longing To Know You’ and the above-mentioned ‘Space Cowboy’ are connected through their lyrics. ”It’s kind of a Sci-Fi story about the overexploitation of nature seen through the eyes of a lonely astronaut, orbiting earth in his space capsule,” Gus explains.
It`s official: The band has once again brought their full potential, making Firewind a more than worthy successor of their 2017 concept work Immortals. “The new album is an exciting and fashionable mix of Hard Rock and Power Metal. These songs are fresh but tough and melodious at the same time. In my opinion the record sounds exactly as a band in our genre is supposed to in the year 2020. But of course, the key feature lies with the quality
of the composition, which has been our main focus again,” comments Gus. There’s nothing more to add to this succinct assessment!
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