Release Date: February 5th, 2016
Three words for you: German. Power. Metal. You like that? Of course, you do! Germans do power metal like the Finnish do black metal, or the brits do punk, or Texans do firearms. Germany has a history of phenomenal metal bands, including such greats as Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Accept, Iron Savior, Helloween, Powerwolf, Angel Dust… the list goes on and on. Brainstorm share much in common with their countrymen but their sound also leans a bit more to the Western style of the genre, performed by such bands as Iced Earth, Jag Panzer and Annihilator. A little less Iron Maiden and a little more Megadeth, one might say.
Regardless of how you categorize them, they’ve been a steady force in the metal world for a number of years now. In fact, their latest studio album Scary Creatures is their 11th, since their origins in 1997. That’s a ton of metal for a band that tends to fly just below the mainstream radar. If you’ve never experienced the sonic exhilaration that is Brainstorm then Scary Creatures would be an excellent introduction.
The album begins with an atmospheric intro, a symphony warming up, leading to what seems to be sounds of a laboratory. Then comes the exemplary riffing and interplay of the twin guitars of Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric. The bass work of Antonio Ieva lays a thundering foundation which the energetic percussion of Dieter Bernert serves to accentuate. And then, of course, there’s the instantly recognizable voice of Andy B. Franck who is also well known for his work with Symphorce. Every element of Brainstorm comes together in a perfect storm of sound, with fantastic production. It’s power metal, but not the over-the-top sort that worships at the altar of Tolkien.
Lyrically and musically Brainstorm are well grounded and eschew esoteric flights of fancy for muscular riffs, driving rhythms and a straightforward lyrical style. Check out “We Are”, who’s only indulgence is a sampling of a children’s choir, and is metal through and through. The title track “Scary Creatures” is also a prime example of what these guys are all about.
Brainstorm have been around for quite some time, regularly producing consistently solid power metal. If you’re a fan of the genre and you’ve never heard them… remedy that situation post haste. You’ll be glad you did.
Reviewed by: Farron 1340