German power metal band with an American vocalist. The band was formed in Germany in 1989 with original vocalist Henne Basse who left the band and joined Metalium. Vocalist Andy B. Franck, from Symphorce, was added before signing to Metal Blade and releasing 'Ambiguity'. Their sound is comparable to Angel Dust, Iced Earth and fellow German power metallers Enola Gay.

Brainstorm - Hungry (B.O. Records) 1997

1. "Nails In My Hand" (3:12)
2. "King Of Fools" (3:52)
3. "Innocent Until Caught" (4:58)
4. "The Other Side" (6:53)
5. "Tomorrow Never Comes" (3:29)
6. "Liar's Edge" (4:53)
7. "Tell-tale Heart" (3:44)
8. "Welcome To The Darkside" (5:10)
9. "Bring You Down" (4:20)
10. "Deep Down Into Passion" (4:36)
11. "Mr. Know-it-all" (4:14)

What a spectacular debut. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the band's first album, especially since Andy B. Franck was not yet the band's vocalist. Make no mistake about it, Marcus Jürgens has some strong pipes that are very similar. The entire album smokes from beginning to end. "Hungry" features killer riffs, great guitar solos, and strong songwriting. The production isn't perfect but certainly isn't bad either. Actually the slightly more raw production suites the heavy music quite well. I was also quite surprised at the end of the disc to hear a familiar voice. Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear, /Gamma Ray fame sings duet with Marcus on "Mr. Know-It-All". In any case, Brainstorm has got to be one of the unsung heroes of the power metal scene.

Brainstorm - Unholy (BO Records) 1998

1. "MCMXCVIII" (2:28)
2. "Holy War" (3:35)
3. "Here Come the Pain" (3:50)
4. "Voices" (6:29)
5. "The Healer" (4:13)
6. "Don't Stop Believing" (6:50)
7. "Heart of Hate" (5:30)
8. "Rebellion" (5:46)
9. "For the Love of Money" (5:29)
10. "Love is a Lie" (6:44)
11. "Into the Fire" (4:11)
12. "Dog Days Coming Down" (5:22)

I was quite surprised to find this disc being that it was released on a small label in Germany. Anyhow, Brainstorm's sophomore release is surprisingly as heavy and as well written as "Ambiguity" and "Metus Mortis." I'm not sure why I was expecting something less, but this disc has a ton of hook, crunch and aggression. I can't get enough of this stuff.

Ambiquity Brainstorm - Ambiguity (Metal Blade) 2000

  1. "Crush Depth" (6:06)
  2. "Tear Down the Wall" (3:54)
  3. "Beyond My Destiny" (8:40)
  4. "Arena" (3:53) "Coming Closer" (5:52)
  5. "Darkest Silence" [instrumental] (:54)
  6. "Maharaja Palace" (5:26)
  7. "Far Away" (5:47)
  8. "Demonsion" (6:36)
  9. "Revenant" (4:44)
  10. "Lost Unseen" (6:13)
  11. "Perception of Life" (4:2&)

A friend of mine from Norway turned me onto this CD. I had actually never heard of this band before getting it in the mail so I decided to do a little investigating before I listened to the disc. I discovered these guys are from Germany and have toured Europe with such bands as Iced Earth and Grave Digger. Being that these are two of my favorite power metal bands, I was anxious to check out Brainstorm. To my surprise and delight Brainstorm play crushing heavy metal not unlike Iced Earth. I think one of the biggest similarities that I heard was in the mid to high vocal range of Andy Franck who reminded me slightly of Matthew Barlow. Despite this, however, the songwriting, and especially the style of rhythm guitar playing is unique to this band. Album opener "Crush Depth" is a pummeling power metal song, as is the majority of the music on this disc. The song starts off with an eerie clean guitar part before coming in full tilt at about a minute into the song. "Tear Down the Walls" takes the intensity up a bit, as well as the speed. 'Beyond My Destiny' is a superb power metal ballad with orchestration, killer vocal-arrangements and a big hook. 'Ambiguity' is the band's third CD. and they also have a newer disc out called "Metus Mortis" on Metal Blade that I also had a promo copy of for a few days. Hopefully by the next update I will have a regular copy.

Metis Mortis Brainstorm - Metus Mortis (Metal Blade) 2001

1. "Metus Mortis" [instrumental] (1:06)
2. "Blind Suffering" (4:23)
3. "Shadowland" (3:51)
4. "Checkmate in Red" (4:28)
5. "Hollow Hideaway" (4:25)
6. "Weakness Sows Its Seed" (5:45)
7. "Into the Never" (4:22)
8. "Under Lights" (6:05)
9. "Cycles" (4:27)
10. "Behind" (4:26)
11. "Meet Me in the Dark" (3:11)
12. "Strength of Will" (3:42)

On Brainstorm's second disc for Metal Blade (their fourth overall), they continue in the modern day power metal mode. I can't imagine any fan of Nevermore or Iced Earth not digging this disc. I really see this disc as falling somewhere between those two bands, holding tight to the true metal banner like Iced Earth, but with a dark, more modern production and those soulful vocals like Nevermore. I am not suggesting, that Brainstorm is a clone of either band, but this was the picture that I got while driving through town cranking this disc. Being the Brainstorm are from Germany there are some similarities to German bands like Enola Gay and well. The riffs are heavy and crunchy, the drum work is outstanding and the vocals are mid-ranged, yet passionate at times and aggressive at others. The vocal melodies didn't hit me over the head the very first time I heard this disc, but they were interesting enough to have me longing for more, so they have become more familiar with each listen.

Soul Temptation Brainstorm - Soul Temptation (Metal Blade) 2003

1. "Highs Without Lows" (5:28)
2. "Doorway to Survive" (3:21)
3. "The Leading" (5:38)
4. "Nunca Nos Rendimos" (5:41)
5. "Fading" (5:30)
6. "Shiva's Tears" (5:32)
7. "Forever" (4:54)
8. "Soul Temptation" (7:47)
9. "Dying Outside" (4:08)
10. "To the Head" (4:37)
11. "Rising" (5:28)
12 "Amarillo" (3:18)

DISC TWO (Live Suffering DVD)
1. "Metus Mortis" (intro) [live]
2. "Blind Suffering" [live]
3. "Crush Depth" [live]
4. "Shadowland" [live]
5. "Voices" [live]
6. "Checkmate in Red" [live]
7. "Liar's Edge" [live]
8. "Hollow Hideaway" [live]
9. "Under Lights" [live]
10. "Highs Without Lows" [video]

Andy Franck
Photo by Rockaetano

Brainstorm are quickly becoming among my favorite bands. Brainstorm are on a metal quest to conquer the world and if they continue to put out music of this caliber they just might do it. Their mixture of heavy power metal and melody, along with Andy Franck's soulful vocals are just captivating to me. So, I guess it is only a matter of how much backing they get from Metal Blade. Musically I can only describe "Soul Temptation" as a mixture of the intensity, emotion and heavy rhythms of Iced Earth mixed with the best parts of Dream Theater's "Images and Words." That is what came to mind the fifth or sixth time I played this disc. It's just absolutely one of my favorite discs to come out this year. The limited edition (double digi-pack) of "Soul Temptation" features the bonus track "Amarillo" and a bonus LIVE DVD, titled "Live Suffering" that was recorded live at the SUMMER BREEZE FESTIVAL 2002 (five cameras, Dolby surround 5.1). The live material is freakin' awesome! I see these European metal festivals and WISH that the U.S. wasn't so caught up in the trendy crap. Anyhow, the band puts on a stellar performance. Most of the tracks selected are from Metus Mortis, except "Crush Depth" which is off Ambiguity, "Liar" of Hungry and "Voices" which is off "Unholy".

All Those Words Brainstorm - All Those Words (Metal Blade) 2005

1. "All Those Words" [album version] (4:06)
2. "Before The Dawn" [Judas Priest cover] (3:18)
3. "Shades And Shadows" [exclusive non-album track] (3:55)
4. "(E.O.C.) Cross God¹s Face" [previously unreleased] (3:56)
5. "All Those Words" [single edit] (3:55)
6. "Doorway To Survive" [video clip/bonus track]

A prerelease EP for the forthcoming "Liquid Monster" that includes two non-album tracks and the excellent single from the album "All Those Words". The Judas Priest cover is cool, and a very obscure but excellent choice. The EP also includes the video for "Doorway to Survive".

Liqauid Monster Liquid Monster Brainstorm - Liquid Monster (Metal Blade) 2005

1. "Worlds Are Comin' Through" (4:55)
2. "Inside The Monster" (4:55)
3. "All Those Words" (4:05)
4. "Lifeline" (3:05)
5. "Invisible Enemy" (4:20)
6. "Heavenly" (5:33)
7. "Painside" (5:42)
8. "Despair To Drown" (3:51)
9. "Mask of Life" (5:20)
10. "Even Higher" (4:22)
11. "Burns My Soul" (5:13)
The limited edition digibook comes with a bonus DVD containing:
Streets, Stages & Studios (Documentary) (24:12)
1: Budapest (0:30)
2: Vienna/Milano (0:50)
3: Strasbourg (1:46)
4: Barcelona (1:01)
5: Paris (1:35)
6: Cleveland (4:04)
7: Sölvesborg (1:32)
8: London (2:19)
9: Wacken (3:04)
10: Tolmin (1:43)
11: Atlanta (2:50)
12: Studio (2:22)
Before The Dawn (Judas Priest cover) [bonus audio track] (3:25)

Every Brainstorm release since I first heard "Ambiguity" has dominated my CD player for weeks up it's release. "Liquid Monster" is no exception to this rule. While Brainstorm are indeed a power metal band, these guys have created a unique sound for themselves that there is no denying their identity. Unfortunately for them, this puts them in danger of repeating themselves from album to album. I have already read accusations to this effect across the web. However, I find their sound and songwriting to have improved with each consecutive release. "Liquid Monster" simply destroys all competitors. The album opens with the infectiously heavy "Worlds Are Comin' Trough", with it's intricate mix of keyboards and crunchy guitars. "Inside the Monster" features on of the band's best hooks in a long time. The very title of the song puts the melody of the chorus ringing through my head. The albums first single is perhaps one of Brainstorm's finest songs ever. "All Those Words" is an outstanding, melodic song featuring a mix of Andy B. Franck's unique vocals layered with some beautiful female vocals. If this song doesn't push the band into more popular territories across the globe, I would be very surprised. "Lifeline" returns the band to a sound that borders on thrash metal and reminds me slightly of Iced Earth's heavier moments. "Invisible Enemy" brings the tempo down, but is nonetheless heavy and aggressive. This song features sweeping guitar riffs and yet another big, memorable chorus brought to life by layers of vocals. "Heavenly" takes the tempo down even further and is a tender, emotional ballad. Once again, it's Andy Frank's commanding vocal performance that brings this song to life together with a big, meaty chorus. It also helps that the band has one of the best mixes I have ever heard. Many power metal bands lost the heaviness when they are overproduced, but that is certainly not the case with "Liquid Monster". The production here is outstanding. Brainstorm have nearly a perfect mix. While every instrument is clearly heard, they also haven't lost their edge. In the mellower moments, like the ballad "Heavenly", the production keeps the song from sounding like some cheesy AOR ballad. "Painside" and "Despair to Drown" are chunky, Judas Priest-inspired chunks of German power metal. "Mask of Life" is another more melodic number that starts off sounding a bit melancholy before picking up into a heavy, with some heavy, sweeping guitar riffs and layers of vocals. "Even Higher" thrashes along at full speed before the album finishes off with the equally heavy, melodic "Burns My Soul". Brainstorm have improved with each new album and must be considered as part of the upper echelon of power metal bands. "Liquid Monster" should at least push Brainstorm into similar realms of popularity of bands like Iced Earth. As with Iced Earth, I really think that Brainstorm have come into their own. They have truly developed their own unique sound.

My copy of "Liquid Monster" is the limited edition digi-book version, which contains a bonus DVD with approximately twenty five minutes of video footage of the band in the studio and generally goofing around. It also contains the added audio track "Before the Dawn", which is an outstanding Judas Priest cover. My copy is also autographed in silver by the entire band. The DVD is in PAL format. While the DVD is a nice addition, it's not quite as essential as the DVD released with "Soul Temptation", which included an entire live show.

Downburst Brainstorm - Downburst (Metal Blade) 2008

1. "Falling Spiral Down" (4:40)
2. "Fire Walk With Me" (4:24)
3. "Stained With Sin" (3:38)
4. "Redemption in Your Eyes" (4:24)
5. "End in Sorrow" (4:47)
6. "How Do You Feel" (3:47)
7. "Protect Me From Myself" (4:42)
8. "Surrounding Walls" (4:10)
9. "Frozen" (4:37)
10. "All Alone" (4:14)

Germany's Brainstorm return with their seventh studio album and continue their conquest of pure, unadulterated heavy metal. The band's signature sound is still well in place with vocalist Andy B. Franck's howl still at the front. As with past releases, the music on "Downburst" is a blend of power and traditional metal; soaring melodies, sharp riffs, blazing solos and fast tempos mixed with moderate paced and heavier straight ahead heavy metal, as well as a power ballad or two. As with the past two albums, "Downburst" has plenty of meat and hooks to hold the average listener as well. I suppose this is what I like so much about this band, as opposed to many other bands that are labeled "power metal". Brainstorm are not afraid to simplify things when the song needs it, rather than attempting to prove that they are the fastest, or most technical, or whatever. They just play solid heavy metal. As well, Brainstorm are melodic, although not to the point of sounding like an outdated AOR band either. They have plenty of grit and edge to their song writing. Really, there isn't much more to say. "Downburst" is yet another solid heavy metal platter from Brainstorm.

Memorial Roots Brainstorm - Memorial Roots (AFM) 2009

1. Forsake What I Believed (6:31)
2. Shiver (3:17)
3. The Conjuction of 7 Planets (6:34)
4. Cross the Line (5:01)
5. Nailed Down Dreams (5:37)
6. Blood Still Stains (4:10)
7. Ahimsa (4:21)
8. The Final Stages of Decay (6:27)
9. Victim (4:16)
10. When No One Cares (3:19)
11. Would You (5:11)

Brainstorm are nothing if not consistent. Throughout the years since their forming fads in metal and rock have come and gone but Brainstorm have stuck to their guns. Album after album the band continues to churn out straight-forward heavy metal built around heavy guitar riffs, catchy melodies, big hooks and clean vocals. Each song on the record is heavy and driving, with very little exceptions. The beginning of album opener "Forsake What I Believe" starts with haunting forest sounds blended with an ever so slightly sinister cello. The intro builds adding horns and other stringed instruments. Likewise "The Conjuction of 7 Planets" starts off as a ballad-like song but builds into another monstrous melodic metal track. For the most part, however, this is simple, straight-forward, riff-driven heavy metal. Of course other than the driving riffs and pounding rhythm section there is also the vocals of Andy B. Franck. Andy possesses a muscular voice and sings in a mid-range that adds to the bands unique charisma and gives the music an additional element of heaviness. Ok, perhaps "Memorial Roots" is a bit predictable, but would anyone want a band like Brainstorm to move into other territories outside of what they do best? This metal fan does not. The old adage of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies here. "Memorial Roots" is just another strong album from Germany's Brainstorm. 

Spur of the Moment Brainstorm - On The Spur Of The Moment (AFM) 2011

1.   Below the Line (6:41)
2.   In the Blink of an Eye (4:34)
3.   Temple of Stone (3:28)
4.   In These Walls (5:24)
5.   Still Insane (3:53)
6.   Dark Life  (4:12)
7.   No Sinner - No Saint (5:30)
8.   Where Your Actions Lead You to Live (3:33)
9.   A Life On Hold (3:11)
10. My Own Hell (5:29)

Brainstorm a a long-running German power metal band, emphasis on both power and metal. Though they are often lumped in with the lot of European flower metal bands, they are not over-saturated with keyboards and they play real heavy metal that borders on speed metal at times. However, Brainstorm has developed a signature sound that's both melodic and heavy at the same time. That signature sound really hasn't changed all that much since "Metus Mortis" (2001) or arguably "Ambiguity" (2000). So, in other words, buyers need not beware, Brainstorm will always deliver the goods and will not disappoint.

The album opens with “Below The Line,” a moderately paced track that clocks in at close to seven minutes. Though this song is heavy, things really amp up with "In the Blink of An Eye", a faster paced song that again features the band's mix of bombastic heavy metal and infectious melody. "Your Actions Lead You To Live" is fast and furious as well. "No Sinner - No Saint" is one of the more immediately catchy tunes on the CD. "A Life On Hold" is anthemic and memorable as well.

As with past albums, the dual guitar assault of Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric are at the forefront of the music. Just about every song features a crunchy guitar riff with thick, meaty guitar tones. Vocalist Andy B. Franck has lost nothing over time and is still the same charismatic singer he was a decade ago. He can still belt out the high notes, though he most sticks to the lower range singing. "In These Walls" gives Franck a chance to really shine as he builds from a low-key spoken word style to aggressive singing to those siren wails.

With "On The Spur Of The Moment", Brainstorm continue to deliver their brand of solid heavy metal crafted with high caliber musicianship and superb vocals.

Firesoul Brainstorm - Firesoul (AFM) 2014

1. Erased by the Dark (04:43)
2. Firesoul (04:15)
3. Descendants of the Fire (04:47)
4. Entering Solitude (04:51)
5. Recall the Real (06:21)
6. Shadowseeker (04:04)
7. Feed Me Lies (04:52)
8. What Grows Inside (03:54)
9. The Chosen (04:46)
10. ...and I Wonder (05:31)                 

Germany's Brainstorm are easily one of the best and most consistent power metal bands over the past decade. Their debut was dropped on the world in 1997 and they have released a string of great albums ever since then. "Firesoul" is their tenth full-length relase. Firesoul aren't the typical dungeons and dragons European power metal band. This band is all about heavy guitars, heavy riffs, memorable hooks and harmonies. Vocalist Andy B. Franck is definitely one of the more defining parts of Brainstorm's sound He possesses an incredibly powerful and aggressive voice and sings with a mid-range approach that adds to the overall heaviness of Brainstorm's sound. 

The album artword for "Firesoul" is  eerily similar to the band's 2003 release "Soul Temptation", which many see as one of the band's best albums. I can only imagine the band is trying to recreated the excitement from that album as they bring back artist Achim Koehler to create the cover art. Musically the album is similar in style as well. The CD starts off with the incredibly heavy "Erased By the Dark" and that intensity is felt throughout the album. This is heavy metal. Though they are generally labeled power metal, I just don't hear much in hear that puts them in that European power metal sound, nor are they quite as thrashy as the early U.S. power metal bands. However, this songs does feature some blazing double bass drumming by Dieter Bernert and is easily on par with legendary American power metal bands like Metal Church and Vicious Rumors.

Where Brainstorm really lacks is in diversity. For the most part Brainstorm knows their strength and capitalize on it by following their own consistent formula. For the most part I find the formula to work well and be very enjoyable. However, the lack of diversity also can work against the album as a whole. Thankfully on "Firesoul" the band has kept it down to only ten songs, thereby avoiding the album getting boring. In fact, some of the best tracks are at the end of the album. "The Chosen" is driven by a heavy groove and some incredibly melodies by Franck. The chorus is very ultra catchy. "...And I Wonder" finishes things off with a heavy mid-tempo riff before jumping into some clean guitars and melodic vocals. As with "The Chosen" the chorus is infectious and will ingrain itself into your membrane. 

"Firesoul" is easily one of the band's best since "Soul Temptation". It's a solid heavy metal album from an underrated heavy metal band. 
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