Firewind fail to impress hugely at ProgPower UK
Opening up the first rendition of ProgPower UK is undeniably a tough task. With a crowd waiting for more renowned bands such as Threshold and Therion later in the day and the task of living up to the well regarded ProgPower name, Firewind certainly had a task on their shoulders. Fortunately, although there were a few problems with their set, Firewind managed to entertain with their no-nonsense power metal.
Walking onstage to a pleasant enough orchestral intro the band immediately showed us what they were all about with their opener. Classic style power metal with wailed vocals from singer Apollo Papathanasio, reminiscent at times of Fabio Leone's vocals in Rhapsody, with orchestral style keyboards over the top. Whilst this mix had little variation as the set went on, and grew a tad tedious, their if it's not broken don't fix it style power metal was clearly good.
The band had an undeniable charisma, with Apollo running around the stage, whipping the audience into excitement, with some sort of strange bomber hat on his head. It is impressive that the band managed to get an audience at the beginning of the day, hardly warmed up, to have such an enthusiastic response with many showings of the ubiquitous horns and an entire front row of headbangers.
The real thing that let the band down was sound, whilst the guitars and vocals were audible, the drumming overpowered the sound and there was a real let down in the elaborate keyboard styles of Bob Katsionis being entirely unhearbale in the mix. Apart from one very enjoyable and highly skilled keyboard solo I simply could not tell at any other point if the keyboards were good or bad.
So apart from the bad sound, the band really did little wrong, Yet I still feel there is nothing that brings them beyond the solid 8 they have been awarded. There was nothing in the set that really distinguishes them from this or that other power metal band, and whilst they certainly achieved they hardly set my world on fire.