Album review: BRAINSTORM – Firesoul

Brainstorm - Firesoul

AFM Records [Released 07.04.14]

Well these guys have most definitely passed me by…Brainstorm are a German metal band from the Swabia region of Bavaria (deep south in other words) and Firesoul is actual their 10th studio release!

Formed way back in 1989 they released their first official release Hungry in 1997 and still feature 3 original members to this day – guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric plus drummer Dieter Bernert. Vocalist Andy B. Franck joined back in 1999 with bassist Antonio Ieva being the relative new boy – only 7 years in the band.

Erased by the Dark opens the proceedings in style with its incessant drum beat and effective (but not overpowering) use of orchestration. Firesoul keeps the pace rattling along – the multilayered backing vocals work extremely well.

Entering Solitude is very Avantasia and that’s no bad thing in my opinion, the epic Recall the Real brings Blind Guardian to mind and The Chosen could almost be one of Iron Maiden’s more recent offerings. Closing number And I Wonder is a little slower and is the closest thing on here to a power ballad but the emphasis is still on the “power” bit.

The other songs do at times just wash over you though – there is nothing wrong with them but that magical something is missing. The almost ever present double-bass drumming does wear a little thin at times…

Comparisons with Iron Maiden (and indeed Bruce Dickson’s solo output) keep springing to mind especially with the vocal intonations used by Andy B. Franck…it could almost be Bruce on The Chosen. Brainstorm do however throw a liberal sprinkling of Blind Guardian and even Avantasia into the mix.

All in all this is a solid release from Brainstorm and it improves with each listen as more of the intricacies become apparent. Now to their back catalogue…  ***½

Review Phil Berisford

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