Brainstorm – Firesoul

Firesoul is the new album from German band BRAINSTORM, out now via AFM Records, and it’s the first one I’ve had the chance to listen to. I knew the name, but never had the chance to take any of it in. After several spins both at my desk and in the truck I can say with no uncertainty that I’m a fan. Add this to the ever-growing list of kickass Power Metal albums to be released in 2014. Jeezus, and this is only April. Vocalist Andy B. Franck (how PERFECT is that name for the lead singer of a metal band??) has a gritty and powerful voice that grabs your attention right away, and guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric play a significantly more aggressive style than some of their peers.

This is evidenced by the first two songs “Erased By the Dark” and title track “Firesoul”, both of which sound like Angel of Retribution-style JUDAS PRIEST. Hey, I’m not complaining, I love that album! “Descendants of the Fire” is an all-out attack as well, before “Entering Solitude” goes the more mid-tempo route and has one of THE strongest hooks on this whole album. Yeah, this was one I really liked driving to, good job! The same can be said for “Recall the Real” because of the register Andy’s singing in and that blend of power and melody that just works.

It’s back to the land of all power all the time for “Shadowseeker”, one of the faster and heavier tunes I’ve heard so far this year from a band of this ilk. The dual guitar runs are reminiscent of HELLOWEEN in places but still maintain their own sound and feel. The only one I wasn’t totally sold on was “Feed Me Lies”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad one, or anything, but it just pales in comparison to the rest of the album. Then “What Grows Inside” comes along with a potent riff that will have metal heads bobbing before they even realize it. Mine was!

Another mid-tempo number is also another absolute standout in “The Chosen”. Taking inspiration from IRON MAIDEN, not only does the chorus sound like some of their stuff, but Andy does one hell of a Bruce Dickinson on that part. It’s not a rip-off or anything, it’s just a really well-written song and at that point I can’t help but feel he’s channeling more than imitating. As the key changes towards the end we can hear just how much range is there, too. “…And I Wonder” closes the album out in atypical fashion as it’s not a four-on-the-floor speedster hell bent on destruction. It’s a nice change from the same old same old. Overall I enjoyed my first BRAINSTORM experience, and I would definitely recommend Firesoul to someone looking for some good old German Power Metal.

STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Chosen”, “Entering Solitude”, “What Grows Inside”, “Shadowseeker”, “Recall the Real”

RATING: 8.8/10

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