The Premonition

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The power metal revival movement of the '90s and 21st century has been very far reaching in Europe. In addition to all the power metal revival bands that emerged in the Scandinavian countries in the '90s and 2000s, there has been noteworthy power metal revival activity in countries ranging from Germany and Holland to Italy and Poland. And Greece is the home of Firewind, although the band traveled to Sweden to record The Premonition with metal producer Fredrik Nordström (not to be confused with the jazz saxophonist). When metalheads look at Nordström's résumé, they see quite a few extreme metal bands -- including In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth and At the Gates on the death metal side and Dimmu Borgir on the black metal side. But Nordström has by no means been an extreme metal producer exclusively; one also sees Dream Evil, Dragonland, Hammerfall and other power metal and/or prog metal bands on his résumé. The Premonition isn't the first time Nordström has worked with Firewind, and his presence is a definite plus on this late 2007 recording. Nordström is obviously someone with a strong appreciation of melody -- even in the death metal/black metal field, Nordström has tended to favor the more melodic bands -- and melody is a crucial part of aggressive yet decidedly musical selections like "Angels Forgive Me," "My Loneliness," and "Mercenary Man." The Premonition doesn't break any new ground for Firewind, who are every bit as mindful of Ronnie James Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Queensrÿche on The Premonition as they were on previous releases. And even when they cover Michael Sembello's 1983 hit "Maniac" (from the movie Flashdance), Firewind still sounds like an '80s power metal band. "Maniac," in fact, works surprisingly well in a power metal environment. From "Maniac" to the original material that dominates this album, Nordström does his part to make The Premonition an engaging addition to Firewind's catalog.

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