Brainstorm – “Scary Creatures” CD/ DVD (AFM Records)
Blazing power metal from Germany! Hot off 2014’s “Firesoul” (Brainstorm’s highest-charting album ever in Germany) comes “Scary Creatures”, which pretty much continues hot footed complete with mix and mastering once again handled by Achim Koehler. Formed in the late 80s, Brainstorm uniquely don’t play neither ‘retro’ nor modern power metal, but rather a natural evolution of what they have always played which is sorta in between the two – and certainly works a treat! I mean, the energy on this album is simply steaming, from the chundering grooves scintillated by classy melodies and to the driving bass and pounding drums, which is hardly a surprise when you consider that all the band’s founding members – both guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric as well as drummer Dieter Bernert – are still shredding and hammering away like they did coming close to 4 decades ago! Along with speed, there’s a definite heaviness which I really like as too many modern power metallers concentrate their sound towards the high end of the scale, so Brainstorm live up to their name both then and now, essentially as an amped up heavy metal band!! With Andy B. Franck joining in 1999, the line up has been consistent ever since, bassist Tony Leva being the last new member in 2007. Guess it says a lot about having solid line-ups and relentless touring! With Franck’s soaring, neo classical vocals at the helm, Ihlenfeld and Loncaric pile on the riffs while trading melodies and on many occasions going for the twin guitar attack in between fiery solos, confident that the solid rhythm of Leva and Bernert have got their backs on tracks like the heavy chugging ‘Take Me To The Never’, the thundering ‘Where Angels Dream’ and the anthemic ‘We Are…’. With an entire live show from Essen where the band performed the entire “Firesoul” album plus their biggest hits now part of the limited edition bonus DVD, “Scary Creatures” continues the Brainstorm steamroller in style. Embarking on European tour with Primal Fear and Striker in February 2016, as well as summer festival appearances, hats off to this solid outfit that show no signs of flagging whatsoever!