Brainstorm - 'Firestorm' CD Review (AFM Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brainstorm - 'Firestorm' CD Review (AFM Records)

Brainstorm - 'Firestorm' CD Review (AFM Records)
While German power metalers Brainstorm’s tenth disc, Firesoul (AFM Records), came out earlier this year, I never got a chance to put my thoughts about the disc on ‘paper’. After the local Judas Priest show, I was reflecting that Brainstorm’s new disc captures a lot of the elements that were missing on Judas Priest’s most recent release so I thought I should finally sit down and knock out a review.

Brainstorm’s core sound falls solidly into the power metal genre but the band extends this sound to include elements of NWOBHM with the down-tuned dual lead guitars of Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric, light orchestral elements along with a little bit of prog, which includes clean, technical guitar solos. Adding to this, Andy B. Franck’s raspy but melodic vocals are directly comparable to artists like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickenson though Franck never goes for the high-end scream.

The disc starts with “Erased By the Dark”, which is an old-school power metal number that is powered by some breakneck drumming and the band just picks up the pace from here. The title track, “Firesoul”, is the next cut and this track is a bit more aggressive. This number focuses around driving guitar riffs and dual NWOBHM guitar leads and the vocals match this intensity.

One of the many standout numbers is “Entering Solitude”, which is a slower number than the disc openers. This track has a ‘classic rock’/AOR feel centered around clean melodic guitar lines, soaring vocals on the chorus and a melodic guitar solo toward the back-half of the song. This number is followed by “Recall The Real”, which really changes up the pace with its Gregorian choral intro and outro. After this ethereal opening, this slow burning number kicks into high-gear with staccato guitar riffs which are accompanied by soaring vocals and meaty, melodic choruses.

Looking at some of the other tracks, “Feed Me Lies” is a return to the aggressive and driving sounds of the disc’s opener and this track is the one that stuck with me after a few spins of the disc. “The Chosen” is the closest that Brainstorm comes to ‘traditional’ power metal as the keys are higher in the mix for this number and the riffs are downplayed in favor of orchestral flourishes. The soaring choruses are a notable standout along with the very clean guitar lines, which include a technical power-prog solo. The disc wraps up with “…And I Wonder”, which is another AOR rocker and the minimal instrumentation allows this number to be powered by Franck’s vocals.