I hadn't read the Firewind website prior to this so imagine my surprise when Henning Basse, singer from 'Metalium' strides out onto the stage, it seems Firewind frontman Apollo Papathanasio has some problems and needs to take some time out of touring for a while. Normally you'd feel a bit short-changed by that as you're not seeing the band you expected to see. Let me just say that if this is putting you off seeing Firewind on the rest of their tour dates this year then don't let it. Henning is a fantastic frontman and if you didn't know he was a replacement you'd never guess in a million years, he slots in effortlessly and was absolutely brilliant.
Firewind rip up the stage within minutes like a... ah...wind of fire, their sound is great and they play like demons with guitar work that defies belief, it creates the same feeling as seeing Maiden for the first time all those years ago, you just know you are seeing genius at work and anyone with a metal bone in their body could see it tonight. The crowd is going wild, clapping and throwing up the horns, a lady next to me knew every word of every song as did a fair few others. They are a complete contrast to previous band 'head on' and effortlessly change the mood from burgeoning hardcore to power metal, this is what outdoor festivals need, bands that play furious metal to keep everyone's attention riveted to the goings on onstage and not on their lower backs or legs, 'Head on' did it and 'Firewind' easily do it even though they are poles apart in their styles, quality will shine regardless. There were times during the festival when bands were on for thirty minutes and it seemed like an hour, Firewind were on for fifty minutes and it seemed like fifteen. I rest my case.
I can't really say enough good things about this set, let's put it this way they were better than the headliners 'Testament', they had better sound and were more entertaining, and that's from a Testament fan, they were the band of the day and indeed in the top three of the entire festival.
If I was Apollo I'd keep an eye on that Henning bloke.