Greek heavy metal band, Firewind, honors the historic sacrifice made by the 300 Spartans in their new 2017 album labelled "Immortals."
By Eleftheria Lisa Mavroukas
Firewind is a heavy/power metal band formed in 1998 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Gus G., its creator, is more widely known, not just for his outstanding skills in electric guitar playing, but also for replacing Zack Wylde as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist in 2009. Gus G. has recently been in the news for his 2014 solo album release "I Am The Fire," which featured metal widely known artists, such as Mats Levėn, Jeff Scott Soto, David Ellefson,Yngwie Malmsteen, and Billy Sheehan. Firewind's current members are Henning Basse, lead vocals, Gus G., lead guitar, Petros Christodoulidis, bass, Bob Katsonis, Keyboards, and Johan Nunez, drums.
Gus G.'s band, Firewind has been in hiatus since 2012, following the release of their last album, "Few Against Many," with then lead vocalist Apollo Papathanasio, who was replaced in 2013. For the following two years Firewind had "touring guest vocals" by Kelly Sundown Carpenter and Mats Levėn, but they recently found metal singer, Henning Base, in 2015, who hailed from the bands Metalium and Sons of Seasons, as their new lead singer.
Their new album "Immortals" is based on the infamous historic Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. between the invading Persian army, led by King Xerxes ,and the union of Greek city-states, led by Spartan King Leonidas. Although this battle resulted in a Persian victory, it is the strength, discipline, savvy military strategies, bravery, and heroism that was displayed by the greatly outnumbered Spartan soldiers that has never been forgotten to this very day. Their sacrifice made in the defense of thwarting a Persian infiltration of Greece has been indeed "immortalized." This battle has been written about throughout history, and has been depicted visually through Hollywood movies, such as in 1962's "300 Spartans," and recently in "300" filmed in 2006. It has been a tradition for metal bands to touch on history, as has been seen in the works of bands such as Iron Maiden, but having a whole "concept album" based on this one particular battle, is quite an act of reverence to such a historic event.
Firewind's album "Immortals" is based on the sacrifice made by the 300 Spartans, and their king, Leonidas, at this battle, thus marking it as a true "concept album." Its songs titled "Hand of Time," "We Defy," "Ode to Leonidas," "Back on the Throne," "Live and Die By the Sword," "War of Ages," "Lady of 100 Sorrows," "Immortals," "Warriors and Saints," and "Rise From The Ashes" all touch on the heart felt psychological conflict, as well as heroic, battles that King Leonidas (and his army) endured. This is not just seen in the lyrics, but it is also seen in the music itself, which holds onto its "Firewind-like" tradition of powerful metal, that touches on the internal and external struggles that might have been endured through its execution of soft to hard - even battle-like - rifts and beats throughout the album.
Firewind is currently touring the "Immortals" album in Europe, beginning in the United Kingdom this month, and will then go on to France, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Russia and Czechia, concluding in early June.
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