Hot off the Press

Brainstorm | Firesoul

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist —

Brainstorm FiresoulFor the so-called European power metal, the motherland traditionally was nowhere else but Germany – think Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and other “pioneer fathers” of the genre (influenced by Scorpions and Accept, needless to say). In spite of the representatives of many other countries taking the leadership over in recent years (Scandinavia, for example), it seems the epic battle for German honor still continues and Brainstorm still remains one of the finest divisions of power metal warriors. Fronted by talented singer Andy B. Franck, the Swabian metalheads attack again, their weapon being their newest album Firesoul – tenth in their discography.

Brainstorm’s Firesoul is a clear proof that after almost 20 years on stage the German group still lives and breathes power metal. Let’s start from the clichéd cover artwork – the band’s staunch listeners should have already recognized the voluptuous bat-winged and big-breasted creature, since they saw her before on the cover of Brainstorm’s 2003 Soul Temptation album. Every heavy-power-band needs a mascot, so why not a female, threatening but well-endowed, instead of creepy Eddie The Head or the strange Murray …? And as for the music content itself, Firesoul is comprised of 10 tracks, each of them standing for a dictionary definition of ‘power metal.’

You want a sheer ferocity of guitar laden gallop – here’s “Erased By The Dark.” A need for listening to some heavy, furious riffs? Try “Descendants Of The Fire,” “Shadowseeker” or “What Growls Inside.” You feel like experiencing a short trip to the Medieval period? The intro to “Recall The Real” with its choral, quasi-Gregorian effect should do. And if you treasure more melodic tracks the most, you’re gonna be amazed at the ‘80s metal-infused “…And I Wonder,” the groovy “Feed Me Lies” (with some outstanding vocal harmonies) or the anthem-like “Entering Solitude”. One song after another, Firesoul is all about powerful tracks driven by fierce and feisty riffs, high-pitched vocals, dynamic rhythm section, majestic melodies and massive choruses.

Consequently, there’s no doubt about neither Brainstorm’s musicianship, nor Firesoul being another very solid release in their catalog. Track after track, they re-introduce their listeners to the gutsy, fast-paced but melodic metal that is their trademark and they do their job very well. However, Brainstorm’s weak point is that of the whole genre – the “problem” with power metal, so to speak — is the imminence of it getting repetitive and predictable. One power metal act after another, it follows the very same patterns of combining speed metal riffs with clean but powerful vocals into majestic, anthem-like songs with clichéd lyrics … stuck in a rut? It certainly seems so. But if you’re into guitar laden power metal anthems and, at the same time, not really into breaking new ground music-wise, you’ll certainly appreciate Brainstorm’s new release. Recommended.

Genre: Power Metal

Andy B. Franck – vocals
Torsten Ihlenfeld – guitars
Milan Loncaric – guitars
Antonio Ieva – bass
Dieter Bernert – drums

Track List:
1. Erased By The Dark
2. Firesoul
3. Descendants Of The Fire
4. Entering Solitude
5. Recall The Real
6. Shadowseeker
7. Feed Me Lies
8. What Grows Inside
9. The Chosen
10. … And I Wonder

Label: AFM Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10