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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Brainstorm - Scary Creatures


Brainstorm are no new comers in music world.

2 years after “Firesoul” the band from Germany are back with the 11th album.

Upon releasing the 1st demo back in 1990 Brainstorm have established themselves as a metal force to be reckoned with.

Their music can be described as metal/power/thrash that draws influences from bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and NWOBHM bands along of course numerous elements found in the German metal/thrash scene.

However Brainstorm are no copycats and they have established their own sound from early on. Their style is a lot heavier and faster than the majority of power metal bands but where Brainstorm really makes a difference are with the distinct and unique vocals of Andy B. Frank.

Andy's voice can't easily be described. His voice is a mix of Rob Halford's low to mid range and Bruce Dickinson's ferocious delivery and storytelling. Now add to this a lot (and I really mean a lot) of thrash influences and you get a very unique blend of a singing style. His voice is easily recognizable and unless I'm mistaken at this time literally no other singer at this moment sounds like him.

Being a big fan of the band's earlier albums like “Ambiguity”, “Metus Mortis”, “Hungry” I was disappointed with their more melodic turn in “Liquid Monster” released back in 2005 as they tried mellowing their sound. That kinda killed my interest since, so I was quite curious listening their latest offering. Let's not forget that Brainstorm is a very consistent band and since 2005 have released 4 more albums.

Their new release is titled “Scary Creatures”. In this album Brainstorm sound heavy as fuck. A lot of times they flirt with fast to mid tempo songs clearly showing a heavier and epic dimension in their music. You can find great choruses in tunes like “How much can you take”, “Scary creatures”, “World to see“ and “Caressed by the blackness” and awesome riffs in songs like “We are” and “Where angels dream” this one also carries a small Gamma Ray influence within its guitar harmonies.

Musicianship is at a very good level and production provides another plus since it sounds modern and heavy but without sacrificing distinct details as sporadic use of keyboards and guitar effects. There are some small surprises for me as Brainstorm choose a more classic '80s approach on the last 2 songs “Take me to the never” & “Sky among the clouds” something that suits them very nice!

Where the album shines is in the vocal department. The voice really leads the songs and production has really made sure they got plenty of room available to breath.

What I felt this album lacking is that it sometimes sounds a bit repetitive especially in the use of anthemic choruses that are constantly embellished by gang vocals (similar to Accept) and a lot of vocal harmonies. I'd rather hear a bit more variety instead like they did with the chorus of “Twisted ways” that sounded straight from the golden days of Stratovarius.

Brainstorm have returned with a very strong album that metal fans should take notice and of course they shouldn't miss the chance on seeing them live since Brainstorm is a band capable of always delivering their music to the max!

Salute to Brainstorm guys, it's nice having you back!

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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