Firewind, Edge of Paradise, Immortal Guardian – Pittsburgh, PA – 4/14/2024

Sunday evening Firewind featuring Greek guitarist Gus G. who is best known for his former role in Ozzy Osbourne’s band visited the Crafthouse Stage & Grill.  They were joined by tour mates Immortal Guardian and Edge of Paradise as well as local support from a regional act entitled Paradigm.   Overextending myself and having some confusion around the starting time for the event, I unfortunately arrived after Paradigm and Immortal Guardian.

We’ve never caught Paradigm before, but the four-piece melodic metal group has been performing regionally for more than a decade.  We are familiar with Immortal Guardian, however, as they have visited Pittsburgh at the Crafthouse before in support of Marty Friedman in 2019 and Power Glove in 2020.  We were so disappointed to miss their set, and encourage you to get to your local show early so you don’t miss out too!

Immortal Guardian is a progressive power metal band that is touring in support of their new album Unite and Conquer which includes guest vocals from Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Gamma Ray) and Vicky Psarakis (The Agonist). The band is Carlos Zema on vocals, Gabriel Guardian on guitar and keyboards, Joshua Lopez on bass, and Justin Piedimonte on drums.

They were followed by Edge of Paradise, who are a modern American hard rock/heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California. The band has released two full length albums to date. They took the stage immersed in black lights that illuminated their provocative front woman Margarita Monet who founded the band with guitarist Dave Bates back in 2011.  The band has had some line-up changes over the years but the ensemble currently includes Doug Weiland (lead guitar), David Ruiz (guitar), Jamie Moreno (drums) and Kenny Lockwood (bass).

If you aren’t familiar with Edge of Paradise, they entered the scene with an album entitled Universe, which was laster followed by their sophomore release The Unknown. The later was produced by the Howard Benson, who has worked with Halestorm and Seether.

Edge of Paradise is now out in support of their third album Hologram, the heaviest of their releases, which promises to take you “right into the face of danger and tells the story of pursuit, sacrifice and perseverance against all cosmic odds, uncovering the key to build a new reality.”

I’m not sure exactly how to take that explanation, but they instantly captivated us.  Typically, I find the drummer the most difficult to capture, but in this instance, Jamie could be found side stage and was the best lit member by far. Having him somewhat out of the path of the blacklight ambiance (but still looking very cool in his shades), he caught my attention first. And while I did my best to set up my camera for the unique lighting situation Margarita lured me into to her mesmerizing trance. Her vocals were dynamic and her costume was enchanting as the band grooved behind her.

Following an intro, their set included two cuts from their latest album “Soldiers” and the title track “Hologram,” as the band was surrounded by a sea of purple and yellow lights and video displays that made us feel as if we were floating in a lava lamp.  They continued on with representations from their previous releases “Digital Paradise” and “Dark,” but took this as an opportunity to introduce fans to the new album as it made up most of their set.   They are electric, they are metal, and they are melodic.  They describe their sound as being “music from another world” and it is fitting.

Firewind last visited our little steel town in celebration of twenty years of power metal, with their first touring attempt post-pandemic back in 2022.  They promised to soon return, and we are thankful that that promise rang true as they embark on this headlining tour across the US and Canada in 2024.  The band featuring Herbie Langhans on vocals, Gus G. on guitar, Pedro Christo on bass, and Jo Nunez on drums.

When we caught up with guitarist and founder Gus G. (Arch Enemy, Ozzy Osbourne) before the last show,  he had joked that it isn’t a “greatest hits” show because they don’t have any “hits,” but their previous show in support of Dragonforce did cover the two-decade career of the band. And on this run, they bring a headlining set that includes all of those “non-hits” as well as cuts from their new album Stand United.  A memorable double-dose from the album came mid-set after they finally slowed down for a minute with the ballad “Longing to Know You.” They performed “Chains” and the single “Fallen Angel,” which tackles the battle between good and evil.

Firewind frontman Herbie also invited the crowd to dance with them to the Michael Sembello song “Maniac” made famous on the Flashdance movie soundtrack.  It was a surprising favorite from their 2008 album Premonition to say the least.  Later, Gus insisted that we all must jump if they were going to perform two more songs for us.  And, we did, so they did.  After the crowd chanted for their return, we got to hear both “Ode to Leonidas” from the Immortals album and “Falling to Pieces” from the Allegiance album.

Considering the bands didn’t use the regular stage barrier, fans were able to really get up close during this show, and it was captivating to get inches away from the shredder who has performed for audiences in the tens of thousands.  There was even a point when technically difficulties halted the show and fans joked that Gus ruined the evening.  How special to have those type of moments, and how special to have Firewind heating things up in the states again.

Interestingly, Firewind first began as a solo project for guitarist Gus G.  He caught up with The Pure Rock Shop following his band’s soundcheck at The Roxian Theater in McKees Rocks back in 2022 to discuss their return to the states as well as his solo career under his own name.  If you want to learn more, check it out and check them out on the road!

Tour Dates:

04.16  Westland, MI – Token Lounge
04.17  Hobart, IN – Hobart Art Theatre
04.19  Springfield, IL – Danenberger Family Vineyards
04.20  Peoria, IL – Revival Music Hall
04.21  Joliet, IL – The Forge
04.23  Denver, CO – HQ
04.25  San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
04.26  Anaheim, CA – Parish @ House of Blues
04.27  W. Hollywood – Whisky A GoGo
04.28  San Francisco – DNA Lounge
05.01  Austin, TX – Come and Take it Live
05.02  Dallas, TX – Sundown @ Granada
05.03  San Antonio, TX – Rolling Oaks Events Center
05.04 Eagle Pass, TX – Cooters Pub
05.06 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live

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Watch for continued coverage of local shows and regional shows with Faster Pussycat, Judas Priest and Sabaton, Queensryche and Armored Saint, and more.  And in May, you’ll find us at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 4/16/2024.  All event photos by photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.