BRAINSTORM fills a special niche in my musical tastes. Their albums follow the basic structure of traditional European power metal, but they tend towards a dark, thrashy vibe that completely contrasts with the bright sound of much of the scene, and there are some days that the darkness really just fits my mood. Scary Creatures (out February on AFM Records) fills that need, and is a worthy successor to 2014’s Firesoul.
Andy B. Franck’s vocals stand out as always; full of his raspy goodness, and ready to shift to a powerful scream without notice. Andy’s singing is what first attracted me to BRAINSTORM, and it remains the main reason that I love the band. Of course, the rest of the guys do have something to say about that as well – bassist Antonio Ieva has a great crunchy bass sound that can’t be beat, and Dieter Bernert delivers a solid double bass pounding throughout the album that really backs up the guitars and supports them.
Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric, founding guitarists of the band, bring an aggressive sound to the songs that’ll have you constantly moving your head back and forth. Fans of good, melodic guitar solos will want to pay attention as well: their dual guitar attack, while not breaking any new ground, hits all of the expected spots and definitely does not disappoint. The song structures feel natural and the entire disc flows well.
Overall, this is a really good album. The only thing that’s lacking is that it’s trying to follow up a monster of a release in Firesoul, and that’s just not an easy task. It’s pretty close, however, and is a worthy addition to the collection of any BRAINSTORM fan, and probably not a bad way to discover the band for anyone new to their unique sound.
I had the opportunity to check out the limited edition of this album, which comes with a bonus track in “Lift Your Eyes to See”, a quality song that’s definitely not just a tacked on afterthought. In addition to the CD, the set also includes a DVD recording of a club show in Essen, Germany, filmed during the Firesoul tour in 2014, and the setlist is a greatest hits lineup that no fan will be disappointed by. The video has a raw quality to it – it was recorded with handheld cameras from various points in the crowd, so you really get the feeling of being in the middle of the audience. The addition of the DVD makes the limited edition a no-brainer for just a couple of dollars more, and should be considered essential for BRAINSTORM fans.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The World to See”, “Twisted Ways”, “Sky Among the Clouds”, “Scars In Your Eyes”