Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brainstorm - Firesoul

Germany's Brainstorm is a band that has been in existence since 1989 but didn't seem to be able to release a full length until almost a decade later. I'm not sure why because in the world of German power metal this band is criminally thrown to the back burner in favor of the more popular and successful acts. I do believe that the more serious metal fan is well aware of this band's brand of power metal that actually has an emphasis on power. I actually had the good fortune to meet them about a decade ago at ProgPower V and they were down to earth guys that played a set that absolutely slayed! So now we have their tenth full length album, Firesoul, an album that is actually one of my favorite albums of the year.

As I said, this band is considered power metal but their sound does not resemble many of the bands that are considered definitive bands of power metal. They do use some keyboards and symphonic elements but what makes this band stand out from the rest is the riffs. This band uses a crunchier guitar sound with heavy as fuck riffs that seem to fit in more with USPM than with the bands to whom they they share a continent. The opener, "Erased by the Dark" are typical of the Brainstorm sound. This song may have symphonic keys but they do not drive the song. Instead riffs, riffs and more riffs drive this song as well as all the songs on this album. Vocalist Andy B. Franck actually sounds like Harry Conklin on a lot of the songs on this album. This is the best I've heard his voice sound from all the albums I've heard by this band. The title track kicks off with a more traditional flare with the main riff reminding me of old school metal but with that heavy guitar sound that gives this band a heavier feel. The chorus is catchy and the remainder of the song is full of hooks and massive riffs.

The remainder of the album sees the band throwing some variety in the mix with their signature pounding riffs, soaring vocals, and classy solos leading the way but with enough melody to not be a one trick pony. "Descendants of the Fire" seems to kick your teeth in with it's powerful riff work and blazing speed while "Entering Solitude" is a more melodic number with it's traditional metal intro riff and softer parts in the verse. "Recall The Real" is another melodic number with a catchy as fuck chorus that you can not help but sing along to. The keys are subtle but still enough to add that dynamic making this one of the band's best songs in a while. This is Brainstorm doing epic anthems as only they can. This variety is typical of this band as they seem to rely on writing both heavy metal anthems as well as heavy as fuck riff fests so there's something for everyone on this album. Then there is a song like "Feed Me Lies" that combines the heavy riffing with the infectious melodies in the chorus making this another song that will stick in your head. This song's vocals has that Harry Conklin vibe going on again.

There seems to be an energy on this album that may have been missing with the previous couple of albums giving you this feeling like the band has been rejuvenated. Solid songwriting and flawless execution is the formula here making this album by this veteran band an album that is not only worth getting but essential. This is power metal with actual power but with a melodic side that gives this band a very unique sound. Once again this year, a veteran German band has released a quality album. If you are a metal fan and let this album slip by you, you are doing yourself a great disservice.


No comments: