The band had a demo in 1998 called Nocturnal Symphony. Firewind signed to Century Media in late 2004. The band's UK tour with Yngwie Malmsteen was cancelled in 2005 when singer Chity Somapala was unable to procure a visa for the U.K. He was subsequently booted from the band. Gus G. quit Nightrage in early 2006 in order to focus on this band. Allegiance was due in July, 2006. Instead, the album was later billed for January 2007 through Century Media. This album marked the first release with new vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Majestic and Time Requiem) and drummer Mark Cross (ex-Helloween and Metalium) whose talents had a prominent impact on the creative process. Allegiance was mixed at Studio Fredman with guitarist Gus G’s former band-mate Fredrik Nordstrom. Singer Apollo Papathanasio had to cut short touring with the band in early 2007 supposedly due to a family emergency. Henning Basse of Metalium was filling in. Gus G. asked its old singer Stephen Fredrick to join it on the stage in 2007 at ProgPower USA. In the summer, Apollo was resting and dealing with back problems. As a result, Metalium’s Henning Basse stepped in and toured with the band. The band announced a new album called The Premonition for March 25th, 2008. The group toured Europe and was booked for UK’s Download Festival.
Gus replaced Zakk Wylde in Ozzy Osbourne’s band in the summer of 2009. Ironically, with Gus having his own band, Ozzy claimed Zakk was let go because the latter man had his own band with Black Label Society! No word, whether Gus informed Ozzy that he was in a band, called Dream Evil, that was named after a Dio album! Firewind lost drummer Mark Cross due to disagreements with band leader Gus G. Uli Jon Roth’s Michael Ehre joined the band and would play planned shows in Mexico in February of 2010.
Guitarist Gus G was featured in the third issue of the metal comic book series Eternal Descent, which was available at comic retailers in the summer of 2010. The issue featured a storyline inspired by guitar hero Gus G who helps Eternal Descent characters Lyra and Sirian race against time to save Apollo and the rest of the band from the dissonant call of the Damned. Firewind would tour Europe in September of 2011. Support came from Wolf. Firewind announced its first North American headlining tour, named the Frets Of Fury, for October of 2011 featuring support from Arsis, White Wizzard and Nightrage.
Firewind, featuring Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G., signed a new deal (excluding North America) with Century Media Records to start 2012. The band was in the studio in its hometown of Thessaloniki recording a new studio album, called Few Against Many, which was due in June. The band cancelled its planned tour of Australia scheduled for April of 2013 and promised to reschedule them. Singer Apollo Papathanasio left Firewind in January of 2013 and was temporarily replaced by American singer Kelly Sundown Carpenter.
FIREWIND - FORGED BY FIRE - CENTURY MEDIA/MAGICK
Firewind's latest album, Forged By Fire, is a solid heavy metal album that is nevertheless just shy of brilliant. The voice of Chity Somapala is good, but he tries too hard. Guitarist Gus G. rips with his trademark fret runs and squeals. The album is pure heavy metal, but that does not mean it is monotonous. There is the occasionally anthemic and melodic song or the commercial ballad like Hate World Hero which features amazing guitars. Tyranny is reminiscent of Iron Maiden from the Di Anno period in the beginning and has some fantastic vintage metal guitar work, while Escape From Tomorrow ratchets up the speed factor to good effect. Feast Of The Savages is a shredding instrumental where Gus G. and Marty Friedman trade fire and keyboardist Bob Katsionis adds his own touch taking the song to a sound near that of Rainbow. Incidentally, Firewind lists a full-time keyboardist, but the fans are lucky in that most songs omit his unwanted presence. Perished In Flames is predictably heavier in the riff department and the album ends with the anti-war ballad Land Of Eternity. Watch for bonus video footage on the album as well.
Personally speaking, Dream Evil is a better band than Firewind and why Gus G. would leave that band is a mystery. All the same, Firewind is also a good band worthy of investment by heavy metal fans. - Ali "The Metallian"
FIREWIND – ALLEGIANCE – CENTURY MEDIA
It is generally accepted that guitarist Gus G. (triple G) is adept, dextrous and talented. His work is no less inspiring and impressive here. What is new on Allegiance, however, is singer Apollo Papathanasio formerly of Majestic. The frontman certainly puts in a convincing performance – no fear Firewind fans (triple F) – that shows off his capable ranges. A good instance is the song The Essence. His voice is the perfect accompaniment to Firewind’s musical range which spans the spectrum from hard rock to heavy and speed metal. Feeling is clearly an important component of Firewind.
Notable tracks are the speedy Dreamchaser, the heavy Insanity with the crazy guitars, the instrumental Before The Storm with its touching guitar work and Ready To Strike. It is on Ready To Strike that Papathanasio sounds like Whitesnake’s David Coverdale, which is interesting given the song’s line about “In the dead of the night.” Can you say, “Still Of The Night’?? Falling To Pieces is the album’s catchy and infectious cut.
Allegiance is a good to very good album with a strong sound, yet falls just short of excellent. The album features a multi-media section. – Anna Tergel
FIREWIND – THE PREMONITION – CENTURY MEDIA
Cannot recall being so impressed by Firewind’s previous album, Allegiance. The last two years have given the band some maturity and stability without taking much away. With Gus G.’s guitar power anchoring Firewind, the rhythm section and singer Apollo Papathanasio have come into their own and here we have a cool and steady heavy metal album with some notable music. Into The Fire begins the album with some Metallica strumming (Welcome Home…) and the fitting “into the fire” line. A couple of slower songs and more melody mix within the heavier stuff and appropriate levels of metallic variation. For instance, listen for guitar rhythms on My Loneliness that reek of Michael Schenker. On the down side, the decision to cover Maniac from the film Flashdance is sad, pathetic and boneheaded. Sure, the gimmick and subsequent single will get the band some attention, but what next? Remember Oppressor or Fudge Tunnel or any of the other bands that got a lot of publicity from cover songs before dying a pitiless death. The five seconds of limelight glory will not last. The bigger issue is the blurring of the line between metal and pop rock. Firewind loses points as a result. Still, a seventy out of one hundred is appropriate. – Anna Tergel