Brainstorm has been building a solid groundwork of excellent work since 1989, when Torsten Ihlenfeld, Milan Loncaric and Dieter Bernert got together and started playing locally and recording songs in their basements and garages. This all came to a climax in 1997 when they finally released their first album, ‘Hungry’, which was a hit critically. The self-produced album was the first of many releases created from a massive amount of effort and exhausting personal dedication. In more recent years, Brainstorm has continued to produce new music. In 2014, they released their 10th studio album, ‘Firesoul’, which was a very well-produced power metal album. They have become one of Europe’s most respected metal acts in the scene. Vocalist Andy B. Franck has a classic, yet unique, sound which forces the listener to pay attention to the lyrics. Adding Antonio Ieva on bass in 2007, the five are a complete unit and are a true force to be reckoned with. With that said, let’s take a look at the music included with ‘Scary Creatures’!
Love the introduction to ‘The World to See’ – a really intense feeling of being transported to another world. This is a creative way to open up an album that passes through an orchestra warming up, then to an underwater world with sounds of despair. This then jumps into a nice classic shredding guitar riff that opens up a strong showing. Nice clean vocals, mixed with fast pacing and a killer chorus, make the opening track a true winner!
Next up is ‘How Much Can You Take’, which has some intense moments; however, it seems a bit more of an ordinary fare with, again, clean vocals, and perfectly fine guitars, but something feels a tad missing. ‘We Are…’ is up next with what can only be described as a “song ready for radio”. Now, I certainly enjoy the song, but it feels a bit too mainstream with the chorus. Almost a chant that I would expect to hear from something like P.O.D. or one of those horrid ‘nu-metal’ bands…
‘Where Angels Dream’ has one of the brighter spots that ‘Scary Creatures’ has to offer. Nice speedy and crunchy guitars, and a beat that gets you tapping your feet. There are parts of this track that really show off the range of Franck. He’s a classic singer that should be able to hang with just about anyone, vocally. Being that he has also been lead vocalist for the excellent Symphorce, there is no shortage of potential for Franck to carry songs from being just ok to excellent.
I love the introduction to the title track of this album. ‘Scary Creatures’ has a nice backdrop of orchestra and a darker theme to it than everything we’ve heard thus far. This song falls a bit short with the chorus and over progression from beginning to end. I like the pacing a lot, but there are certain parts where I feel a bit silly listening to the lyrics. The ending guitar solo is very good and the transitions are above average.
‘Twisted Ways’ keeps things moving with a really speedy tempo. Crunchy guitars, nice vocal performance and a clean chorus. Brainstorm can pull off tracks like this in their sleep it seems. Honestly, if every song was this good, we’d have a contender for “sleeper album of the year”! Then, ‘Caressed by Darkness’ comes with an almost Iron Maiden-like intro riff that must be heard. However, we are then given another average chorus that doesn’t really bring us anywhere worth mentioning.
‘Scars in your Eyes’ has a chorus that reminds me of some mid 90s Judas Priest and a well-done guitar solo towards the end. ‘Take Me to the Never’ has a pretty good chanting chorus that is memorable, if even a bit annoying. Final track- if there was one song that you could really point out to someone as the ‘killer track’ on this release it would have to be ‘Sky Among the Clouds’. The final track on ‘Scary Creatures’ has just about everything you’d be looking for. An enchanting guitar intro, quick pace from the transitions and a nice high range chorus that feels like a journey through the clouds. Damn complete song.
I think this whole album is on the edge of being both an excellent album and just average. It’s kind of weird how some tracks just ooze creativity while others are just fillers. Overall, if you’re a fan of Brainstorm, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this release. Being someone who has only followed them from a distance for most of their time in the metal scene, I can’t really recommend it much beyond a couple standout tracks. Another pretty average metal release. Not bad, but not really that great.
Review by Joshua Jaeger
15th January 2016
1) The World To See
2) How Much Can You Take
3) We Are...
4) Where Angels Dream
5) Scary Creatures
6) Twisted Ways
7) Caressed By The Blackness
8) Scars in Your Eyes
9) Take Me To The Never
10) Sky Among The Clouds
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...on the edge of being both an excellent album and just average. It’s kind of weird how some tracks just ooze creativity while others are just fillers."