German power metal flagship, Brainstorm, worked hard on their next album. "The World To See" is the first video, taken from the upcoming longplayer called "Scary Creatures". Release date is January 16th, 2016 and the release show will take place in the Walter Schmid Halle in Giengen/Brenz. Support is nobody less than the mighty Undertow. Check it out.
Swabian power metal band Brainstorm is working on their new album. The name will be "Firesoul" and will be released on April 4th via AFM Records. The band planned already 4 gigs in Germany to promote the new album.
Here are the dates:
03. April 2014 DE – München, Backstage
04. April 2014 DE – Aalen, Rock It
05. April 2014 DE – Essen, Turock
06. April 2014 DE – Darmstadt, Steinbruch Theater
German power metal maniacs Brainstorm revealed the first details of their coming album called "Firestorm". The release date will be April 4th.
Here is the cover of the album and the tracklist:
(8/10) It's always a pleasure to listen to a new album from Swabian power metal institution Brainstorm. This has for me mainly two reasons. First of all the band released always excellent records with straight forward heavy metal tracks. Secondly Brainstorm has its origins in my hometown - Heidenheim.
"Firesoul" is the name of the new album from five guys and I think that the title couldn't have been chosen better. It seems to me that the metal flame is still burning in the heart and soul of the Swabian metal band. They managed to keep the fire burning through the 25 years history of Brainstrom.
"Firesoul" is record number ten in the bands discography. As we mentioned earlier, discs from Brainstorm have been always very relevant. This continues also on the new album. "Firesoul" takes care about the typical Brainstrom trademarks. Massive riffs from the guitar duo Ihlenfeld/Loncaric, great vocal lines by Andy B. Franck and a solid rhythm foundation by Bernert and Ieva are the guarantor of powerful metal songs.
To use an old cliche: 'the album has no fillers, just killers'. The ten tracks are real aural treats.
Already the opener "Erased by the dark" is pure power. A typical Brainstorm song which includes also a smaller orchestral instrumentation in the beginning. "Firesoul", the title track, choses the same direction. The song is build on an immensive riff and a melodic chorus. No time to beathe, since the next tune screams for your attention. The fast "Descendants of the fire" shows the heavy roots of the band.
I could continue like this since all the songs are from excellent quality. "What grows inside" is another example. the song comes slamming out of your speaker and hits you directly.
Cool album and if I should say it in the Facebook language: "I like"
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Power Metal
The whole German winter was green so far and temperatures have been on springly 14 degrees. This changed the day Swabian power metal command Brainstorm invited to the release show of their newest album "Scary Creatures". The whole area was covered by freshly fallen white snow which didn't make it easy for metal fans to get the venue.
However, the ones that took the effort to get to the show have been rewarded by five hours of pure German metal for a very fair price.
But let's start from the beginning. The first band that had to enter the stage was Stepfather Fred. I haven't heard of these guys before. The only thing I knew was that they supported already bands like Emil Bulls and Die Happy. The dudes did a good job even though the venue wasn't that much filled at that time. Stepfather Fred's songs can be described as solid alternative metal that lives by the enegry the guys spread. Halfway the show the crowd also understood why everybody got a lighter by entering the venue. Singer Basti and guitarist Simon left the stage, went into the crowd and played an acoustic tune, surrounded by some fans with lighters on. It's a nice idea that probably even work better in a small club.
Stepfather Fred did an good job and they warmed up the crowd, something that was need on this winter night.
After a short break it was time for Undertow. The German doom thrashers got 60 minutes of playtime which the used vey well.
The whole show was one big metal feast hosted by a band that played tight and spot-on. Guitarist and singer Joschi has been the tower of strength behind the mic, surrounded by his six-string companion Markus Brand and bassist Undertom, who celebrated his birthday the same day. What a cool combination. Not to forget in this context drummer Oli Riegler with his heavy punch behind the drum kit, assuring a strong rhythm foundation and the right power for Undertow.
They four-piece put together a setlist that was a mix of loud and more silent. Not only since this show, it feels like the band got a wider range of sounds by adding a second guitarist a while ago. The latest release "In Deepest Silence" has shown this already, but also the older stuff became more thrilling during the live shows. Tunes like "Smoke Garden" and the mighty "Crawler" made the speakers to an impervious wall of sound.
I like Undertow the most when they reduce the speed and hammer some brutal and slow riffs in the crowd; riffs that feel like a slap into your face. One of those moments was towards the end when the guys peformed with "In Deepest Silence" the title track from their latest record.
Undertow really warmed up the crowd during this 'homematch'. Good band, good music, Swabia rocks.
Then it was time for Brainstorm to present their new songs live on stage. That's why most of the fans came for.
To my surprise, Brainstorm has chosen "Nelly the Elephant" from the Toy Dolls as an intro. I'm not sure if this was only for this event or if it will become a fix part of the shows supposed to come. Anyhow, a cool song with a certain party vibe ... something that continued for the coming two hours.
Compared to the "Firesoul" release shows, where the band performed the entire album, the five-piece played only four track from the new longplayer "Scary Creatures". The rest was a look back in time, a kind of Brainstorm 'Best of...'.
Next to the new tracks highlights in the setlist featured metal anthems such as "Shiva's Tears" and one of the best Brainstorm songs, "Highs without lows". But also rarely performed songs like "Blind suffering" (the band wasn't sure if, and if yes how often, they have ever played it live) have been a pleasure for each metal maniac. Having those band classics next to the new stuff also showed that Brainstorm stays true to themselves. The band developed their sound futher but also sticks to their identity and trademarks. New and old goes together very well, something this release show made very clear.
Brainstorm nailed down a 100 minutes long metal party that was expected from the fans, and the guys delivered. Torsten Ihlenfeld and his gang had obviously a lot of fun and enjoyed each minute of the show. There was action all over the stage combined with wild headbanging wherever you looked. This is real, this is metal.
The Swabian powerhouse finished their show with another real hymn. "All Those Words" from "Liquid Monster", a song with a big chorus, demanded the last energy of fans and band, a pearl that completed a great metal night in Giengen.
The Ostalb might not be the Bay Area. Anyhow, this region has bands that are internationally and nationally established. Brainstorm and Undertow are bands from this district and they are in the business since many years. Both bands proved that metal and Ostalb belongs together.
After five hours of metal the last note was played, the fans have been happy and the winter was still there. Back into the snow, heated up by German metal. Horns up.
Location: Walter-Schmid Halle, Giengen a.d. Brenz, Germany
Date: January 16th, 2016
(8/10) New releases of Primal Fear, Axel Rudi Pell and Brainstorm in January. Wow. What a metallic start into the new year.
Swabian power metal institution Brainstorm has worked on their next milestone called "Scary Creatures" that will see the light of day mid January. Torsten Ihlenfeld and his power metal gang created an album that picks up the thread where the band stopped one and a half years ago with "Firesoul".
The first single" The World to See" kicks off the album. After a short cineastic intro it's the pounding rhythm and the heavy riffs that puts a spell on you. "How Much Can You Take" is also presenting all the Brainstorm trademarks before the speed is reduced with "We Are". A strong bassline is the foundation for this metal cracker that is traditional German metal at it's best. The cherry on this metal cake is the kids choir towards the end, something I haven't heard on a Brainstorm album before. The song might need a few runs but then it unveils its full beauty.
"Where the Angels Dream" doesn't seem to be a very peaceful place. The tune is one of the faster ones on the album and raging guitars accompany you from beginning to end. The number is a highlight on the record that shows Franck as well as the guitar duo Ihlenfeld/Loncaric at its best.
Time for the bombastic title track. A creepy vibe takes over from the first note and the additional classic samples give the tune another dimension. "Scary Creatures" is a worthy title track for the album and a theatric metal piece per excellence.
After such a midpace track something fast is needed; and "Twisted Ways" delivers, followed by a melodic stomper called "Caressed by the Blackness".
"Scars in Your Eyes" don't becloud the positive impression of this album. The song is a typcial Brainstorm anthem and the same goes for "Take Me to the Never", a track that works right off the bat.
The final musical piece is "Sky Among the Clouds" which is the most melodic one on the album. The tune is kept in a medium speed and it is charged with a catchy melodyline. The closer might be different from the rest of "Scary Creatures" but the rigid drive makes it to another cool number that fits on this longplayer.
"Scary Creatures" became the next highlight in the band's long history. The band will promote the album by a release show in Giengen, Germany on January 16th, before going on tour with Primal Fear and Striker in February 2016. Don't miss it.
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date EU: January 15th, 2016
Swabian metal command Brainstorm released their newest album "Scary Creatures" a few days ago. This well-crafted metal release got some support by an official release show the band performed in Giengen, Germany. A few kilometers away from their hometown the gig was more than just a release show. It was the first headliner show of Brainstorm since many many years attracting many fans and friends of the band.
Markus Heavy Music Blog had the chance to talk to guitarist and founding member Torsten Ihlenfeld about "Scary Creatures", the release show and the upcoming tour with Primal Fear.
Markus Heavy Music Blog: Hi Torsten, good to see you. How are you doing, a few hours before the Brainstorm CD release show will start?
Torsten Ihlenfeld: I’m good, thanks. It feels great to go on stage and present the new material.
MHMB: „Scary Creatures” is the name of the new album. Where does it come from and what does it mean?
Torsten: The name is based on what keeps us busy right now. There are lots of things going on at the moment on this planet. We monitored the current global situation, but also considered things from history, to illustrate how bad some leaders in politics and religion have been and still are. This is the idea behind 'scary creatures'.
MHMB: So you could say that the album refers to ‚scary creatures’ in reality. It’s more than just made up creepy stories.
Torsten: Yes, you could say so. Next to the global issues there are also the personal ‚little monsters’ in each of us which we embedded in the lyrics as well.
MHMB: Is there a connection between the different songs? Is it a kind of concept or are the ‚scary creatures' more an overall theme?
Torsten: No, „Scary Creatures” isn’t a concept album. The songs reflect different stories which have been written by Andy (B. Franck). But the earlier described background is the glue that keeps the songs together.
MHMB: For „Firesoul” you needed almost 3 years and you did „Scary Creatures” in only half of the time. What have you guys done differently in order to be faster this time?
Torsten: We immediately started to work on it (Torsten laughs). But seriously, we worked on „Firesoul” for around 2,5 years. Compared to working on „Firesoul” we had this time the chance to start working on new songs directly after we came back from touring. We tried to transfer the enthusiasm from touring into writing new songs. We wanted to include this energy into the new tunes and I think we succeeded very well. So the songwriting process itself wasn’t that much shorter.
MHMB: If we talk about „Firesoul” and „Scary Creatures”, where do you guys see the differences between the two?
Torsten: Actually I don’t think that there is that much of a difference between the two records, even though some people might want to see those. For us, „Scary Creatures” is a logical successor of „Firesoul”. We weren’t aiming for doing things much different. Brainstorm is a band that never looks too much left or right. We do things in a way that we as a band are happy with the result. You know, during the songwriting and recording you can’t ask anybody anyhow when it comes to the new material and when the album is released, people can share if they like it or not. But at that moment in time it’s too late for changes anyhow. That’s why we need to be satisfied with what we are doing and that’s where our focus is.
MHMB: When I have heard „Scary Creatures” the first time I thought it’s a bit more bombastic and a bit harder than "Firesoul".
Torsten: Yes and no. In general the album isn’t really much harder but in a way it’s more focussed. If you take for example the title track and also „We are…” then you find a few more additional bombastic elements in those tunes.
MHMB: „We are…” includes a kids choir which is something new for Brainstorm. Do you want to share with us who those kids are?
Torsten: Of course. It’s our own kids that are singing on „We are…”. It took some time for them to get used to the studio and they also have been really nervous. But in the end I must say that we had a lot of fun all together … and they are super proud of having been part of the album.
MHMB: The first video was made for „The World to See”. What was the idea behind choosing this track for a video?
Torsten: We agreed very rapidly that this song will be the opener of „Scary Creatures” and we wanted to shoot a video for this track. For us, the opener of an album is a kind of statement for the rest of the record and I that’s why we have chosen „The World to See” as being the first video.
MHMB: You decided to go big with this video. You captured the theatre feeling of the album cover and I guess you guys spend also some time for masques and make-up.
Torsten: Indeed. It took really long when it comes to mask and make-up. The moment we received the storybook I thought that this doesn’t work. But things worked out. We have been 15 people and we had only one day for recording the video. The main reason for such a short timeframe is the fact that we recorded in the only, at least in parts original, erotic theatre in Europe. We found the location by searching the web, looking for a theatre that at least partly reflects the album cover. We found this theatre in Gotha and thought, that this will be the place. So we gave it a try and contacted the people there. Actually, we haven’t thought that the guys will allow a metal band to do a video shooting at this place. But we got a 'go' and they have been really nice people. In the morning they explained everything to us in a great way, from the original stage flooring to the oldschool stage setting with ropes and strings. In order to not damage the old original flooring we even had to put tennis balls on the camera tripod and so on. But again, all the effort was worth it and the result look very cool.
MHMB: „Scary Creatures” will also be released in golden vinyl. Are you guys personally into vinyl too?
Torsten: Vinyl becomes more and more a kind of standard which I really like. I even have a record player in my office and it’s just a total different ballgame if you have an album cover of a vinyl.
MHMB: This time the release show takes place in Giengen, while the last time, Brainstorm played four release shows all over Germany. Why this time only one concert?
Torsten: The main reason for having had four shows the last time was, because there was quite some time between the album release and the official tour. This is different with „Scary Creatures“. The release date is mid January and the tour starts in February which is a perfect flow. That’s also one of the reasons why we are in Giengen. A nice side effect is that tonight we will perform the first headliner show in the Heidenheim area since 1989. So good to be back.
MHMB: Will you perform the entire „Scary Creatures” album?
Torsten: No, we have decided to go for four song. It worked with the „Firesoul” album to play the record from beginning to end and we took the effort to do something different at that time, but normally you can’t rehearse all the songs for such a show. This time it’s a mix of the new stuff and some old Brainstorm classics. I think, all in all, we’ll play around 100 minutes of pure Brainstorm tonight.
MHMB: You mentioned the tour already, again with Primal Fear. Seems you guys are pretty good buddies.
Torsten: Yes, we know each other very well. It’s the third time after 2009 and 2012 that we will be on tour together. We are co-headliner in this tour and we will have roundabout 60 minutes for our set, sharing the same backline and the same stage setup. That’s one of the benefits if you know each other. You know what you can expect, and you know with whom you share the nightliner.
MHMB: Will there be also special release show merchandise this time? Last time there was a special package, just for those four shows.
Torsten: No, this time we will not have such a special package. This is mainly due to the fact that fans abroad, who can’t join a release show, don’t have a fair chance to get such a package. This time we have a special logo shirt which we sell today and during the tour - as long as there is stock available. What stayed though is the way of a sustainable production of the shirts because this is something important to us.
MHMB: Torsten, thanks spending some time with MHMB and I wish all of us a great show tonight.
Torsten: Thanks for having me.
(8/10) "Memorial Roots" was and is to date one of Brainstorm's best records. Originally released in October 2009 the longplayer includes highlights such as "Shiva".
Since the band was under time pressure while recording this album things went well but also included some space for improvement. The original version sounds good but it led to discussions amongst fans, loving the songs and suffering a bit from the sound. Based on fan feedback and own perception it was Torsten Ihlenfeld's ambition to re-work the album.
The result of this work is released and it got the name "Memorial Roots" re-rooted. It proves that the effort was worth it. Brainstorm gave the powerful songs a more modern and dynamic expression. The guys lifted the 2009 release on a 2016 level. A main player in this work was Achim Köhler who worked with the band for some more album. Köhler took the original tapes and gave them a totally new mix.
For the ones of you that don't think that a new sound is enough of a goodie for buying this version I can tell you that there are all the tunes form the "Memorial Roots" session on this record. It's the two Digipak songs, a vinyl bonus track, a Japanese bonus track and an unreleased version of "Forsake What I Believed".
To sum up: "Memorial Roots" became a face-lift that makes the album more exciting than the original release. Power and dynamic get more into the forefront, something that benefits the well-done songs very much. Fans can't expect more from such a package.
Label: AFM Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date EU: September 16th, 2016
A few days before Brainstorm released their new album "Firesoul" I had the chance to have a chat with singer Andy B. Franck. We talked about the new album, the heaviness of the "Firesoul" and the release shows. It was interesting things Andy had to tell. Enjoy reading the interview:
Markus' Heavy Music Blog: Hi Andy, How are you?
(7/10) Mission In Black is a rather new metal outfit hailing from Germany. Now 'new' might not be fully correct since it was in 2010 when a first demo has been recorded, followed by some shows, supporting bands like Brainstorm and Mystic Prophecy.
It's five musicians that started their 'mission in black'. Becky Gaber (v), Daniel Tschoepe (g), Andy Flache (d), Martin Grimm (g) and Hannes Jäger (b), that's Mission In Black and some names sound probably familiar. Some guys have been part of South German thrashers Spellbound while Martin Grimm played at Mystic Prophecy.
The quintet inked a contract with German El Puerto label and finally, eight years after their "Black Infect" demo, the debut is ready to be shipped to the record stores. The longplayer consists out of 13 songs that the label info describes as thrash metal. This is definitely the case but there's also a strong power metal influence present through-out. Listening to the melodies and leads reminds me more of Mystic Prophecy than thrash. The latter comes more forefront with the straight-on "Judgement Day".
What stands out are the hoarse vocals of singer Becky Gaber. It took me a while to get used to it. That Gaber has good vocal skills is what becomes obvious with the clean vocals sections, but it's the husky parts that become a bit annoying over time.
Besides this smaller side note "Anthems of a Dying Breed" became an aggressive and powerful debut that also benefits from a proper production and a well-crafted sound. Good music in known territory.
Label: El Puerto Records
Genre: Power/Thrash Metal
Release Date EU: May 5th, 2018