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He is fire. He is wind. He is... lame? - 63%

sadun_tryst, April 12th, 2014

Woot, here’s another trip to solo waters. Gus G, a well known and renowned guitarist of Firewind fame has decided that being in two bands is not enough (second one is Ozzy Osbourne), so he has released a solo album entitled I Am The Fire. I have decent amounts of respect for his work so I kinda expected a lot from this album, possibly more that I could have hoped to get. However, I clearly am not that big of a fan because until today I didn’t even know that this is actually his second solo album, first being Guitar Master, released 13 years ago, before the fame and everything.

So, to get one thing straight, I Am The Fire is not a copy of Firewind. But, as IAtF goes into a bit more commercial and radio-friendly waters, not everyone will be pleased. On some moments album even sounds like a cross-breed between Avenged Sevenfold and Lacuna Coil, to put it bluntly. I mean, why settle with songs that literally show only 5% of your possibilities? Why sing some alt-nu-commercial-bullshit type songs like the title song “I Am The Fire” – alongside with Devour The Day - currently “in” alt rock band?

Speaking of guest appearances, the whole album is based on them. Jeff Scott Soto (TSO, ARP, Yngwie), Tom Englund (Evergrey), Michael Starr (Steel Panther), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Mats Levén (Candlemass, Yngwie) are just some of the names and I do not think I need to go on further. The team is top notch, and I must emphasize bass players, not necessarily because of their performance (it is great, of course), but for the simple reason that instrumental pieces on which they play are best parts of this album. “Vengeance” (Ellefson) and “Terrified” (Sheehan) are huge reminder of a mandatory instrumental tracks from first few Firewind albums.

“Dreamkeeper” is by far the biggest disappointment on the album, the song is painful experience, contrived, soulless and unnecessary, and Englund sounds like he is singing under duress. “Eyes Wide Open” and “Just Can’t Let Go” are no better. And I’m quite sure sure people won’t wait in line to hear “Long Way Down” too…

But, enough with bad things. “Redemption” is fast paced hard rocking song and Starr is doing his job pretty well here. Just like the opening song “My Will Be Done” and the aforementioned instrumental pieces. “End Of The Line” is a very good choice for closure, a little slower thing with very good solo and chorus pleasing to your ears. It’s emotional just enough that it doesn’t sound sleezy. And, before I forget, about the songs that I mentioned earlier as inferior, almost all have a solid solos, but, there is little consolation in that when the rest is rubbish.

In the end, I have no idea what to think. In one hand, it’s nice to see that Gus didn’t just copy-pasted Firewind style on his solo work. On the other hand, why the hell did he go that far into commercialism? I understand that a man wants to attract a new audience, or to try something new, but come on, you already have an audience! Or maybe there’s more to it, I don’t know. His choice, I guess…

I Am The Fire is definitely not for everyone, not for (most) fans of Firewind, and not for all alt-rock fans. A title led us (or at least me) to believe that this will be a real treat for guitar shredding lovers, but instead we got a few soulless songs that would have sounded a lot better as instrumentals, we got couple of real instrumentals, and we got two or three other songs worth getting our attention. This is short summary of I Am The Fire and you decide will you buy it or not.