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As soulless a sell-out as you can get. - 9%

Empyreal, May 17th, 2013

I haven’t heard a Firewind album since the underwhelming The Premonition, but man, I dunno, maybe I’m just getting too jaded or something – because this is seriously just horrendous. Few Against Many is the kind of album I’d point to if you wanted an example of the most immature, thoughtless, generic kind of swill you could ever find.

It’s just a pile of tired metal clichés. Lyrics about bland, vague and generalized topics like “rebellion” and “self confidence” are skimmed through without any kind of real thought or specification on why they’re important. It’s a plastic, manufactured rebellion that markets itself to the kinds of people who think new Megadeth is worth hearing – yeah, man, you stick it to the big, bad government. You assert your free will and independence. I’m sure you don’t really know anything that’s actually going on in the world, though; you just want to look cool. All the perks of rebellion and free-thought while you’re sitting in an air-conditioned living room listening to music you downloaded on a computer your parents probably bought. How quaint. But because this “rocks out,” I guess that excuses any perceived flaws…oh, wait, no it doesn’t.

I guess Firewind never really had good lyrics, but that’s not the point at all. The point is that anyone who actually cares about music or art should be offended by the blatant commercialism and soullessness of an album like this, which just spits in the face of any genuine message that music could have, with its contrived and shallow representations of anti-conformism. Which, paradoxically, becomes as conformist as possible, because this is really the most mainstream, cash-in, sell-out kind of crap you can ever find. And believe me, I'm not saying this is a huge derivation from the other Firewind stuff - it's all pretty much like this, but in the past there were at least merits to it to distract from the blatant commercialism going on. Now, we've just reached rock bottom with no real quality you couldn't find in a billion other bands. But hell, for a project that started out just as a showboat for the guitarist to, well, show off, I'm surprised they even lasted this long without releasing anything this horrible up to now.

Main-man Gus G. can still play some smooth, listenable licks, but it’s all just so rote and mechanical, without really any nuance or depth to it. Even decent riffs like on “Losing My Mind” get dragged out for way too long and just become lame by the end, and the super-clean, Pro-Tooled production sucks any life out of the whole thing. Vocalist Apollo tries to bring some grit and muscle in his performance, but he mostly just sounds like he has a mouth full of cotton balls, and after a few songs he gets really irritating. The choruses, which should be triumphant, mostly come off as loud and obnoxious instead, like a bunch of frat boys getting drunk at a party. On songs like the awful title track, the wimpy “Another Dimension” and the lifeless melodies of “Destiny,” the band sounds enervated and dull. And there’s an acoustic version of the ballad “No Heroes, No Sinners” tacked on as a bonus track – seriously, go fuck yourselves for that one, guys.

There is never any sense of genuine artistry or feeling to this music. They substitute heaviness for just being loud, and songwriting for cheap tricks and flashy nonsense. It’s really not even all that catchy and frankly, what’s the point of power metal if I can’t get into some sticky, steel-barbed hooks?

I just feel unclean after listening to this, because I know full well I could be listening to something better than this – which, frankly, is mostly anything else. Fans of this band won’t listen to me no matter what, but personally I’m just out of patience with this kind of music, as shallow and pandering as you can get. Some people will tell you that selling out means changing your style, but Few Against Many proves that you can do it just as well by sticking to your guns. That’s a euphemism in this case, for something like “fellating the corporate cock.” Just avoid this, as it is a cancer on heavy metal, rock music and just plain old intelligent music in general.