2018 release from AFM Records.
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Andy B. Franck – Vocals. Torsten Ihlenfeld – Guitar. Milan Loncaric – Guitar. Antonio Leva – Bass. Dieter Bernert – Drums.
Produced by Seeb Levermann.
- Devil’s Eye.
- Revealing The Darkness.
- Ravenous Mind.
- The Pyre.
- Jeanne Boulet (1764).
- Divine Inner Ghost.
- When Pain Becomes Real.
- The Four Blessings.
- Haunting Voices.
- The Path.
German teutonic metallers Brainstorm have just released their latest album, ‘Midnight Ghost’. My earliest memory of the band is hearing their classic anthem ‘All Those Words’ from the ‘Liquid Monster’ album, an album that also contained the epic ‘Heavenly’. I had high hopes for the future based on those songs and that special album. While the nest release, ‘Downburst’, was good, it didn’t reach the level of its predecessor. Since then I’ll admit the more recent albums have passed me by. I have always hoped the band would finally release an album leaning more towards the melodic side shown on ‘Liquid Monster’. When the first single, The Pyre’ was released I thought that perhaps my hopes were about to be answered. Second single, ‘Ravenous Minds’, gave further credence to those hopes before the final single, ‘Revealing The Darkness’, had me clamoring to hear the full album. You can hear all three of these songs by clicking on the appropriate links under the Media heading near the top of the page.
‘Devil’s Eye’ is a spectacular opener. Have Brainstorm had a love child with Primal Fear? Fast, heavy and possibly the tightest I have heard the band on record. The production is stellar, which has been a bit of an issue with me and the band in the past. Andy absolutely kills it, especially on a chorus that is one of the best the band has come up with. He sounds fantastic.
‘Revealing The Darkness’ begins with a brief piano interlude before stomping along in typical Brainstorm fashion. I thought the chorus on the first track was good, but this is even better. THIS is what I knew the band were capable of, and damn have they delivered! One of the songs of the year for me.
Track three, ‘Ravenous Minds’, is quintessential Brainstorm. It moves between the dark of the crunchy riff to the light of the chorus. This could easily have been on ‘Liquid Monster’.
Three tracks in and every chorus is a winner.
The boys drop the hammer again on ‘The Pyre’. An absolute belter. One of those songs that just grabs you by the neck and forces you to head bang. I already need a chiropractic appointment. This is the best start to a Brainstorm album that I have heard.
There is a brief moment of respite on ‘Jeanne Boulet (1764)’, the longest track on the album. It starts with Andy singing over acoustic guitars and atmospheric rain in the background, gradually building into a melodic, mid-tempo heavy rocker in similar style to Iced Earth.
‘Divine Inner Ghost’ is a brooding rocker, until we get to the chorus. Again the band have really excelled in that department, upping the harmony stakes considerably.
We get to perhaps the most commercial track of the album, ‘When The Pain Becomes Real’. Predominately a melodic hard rocker, perhaps heading in a Pink Cream 69 direction rather than a metal anthem but still distinctly Brainstorm.
‘The Four Blessings’ is a fist pumping, air-guitar demanding stunner that Primal Fear and Accept would be happy to call their own. Can’t get enough of it.
I am a huge fan of Tad Morose’s ‘Modus Vivendi’ album and ‘Haunting Voices’ could be mistaken for being from there. It has exactly that feel.
‘Midnight Ghost’ ends in a slightly disappointing fashion with the power metal ballad ‘The Path’. A good song with quite a lovely, but short, solo. It might have been better served by being earlier in the track listing with one of the heavier tracks rounding things off.
Throughout ‘Midnight Ghost’ the boys have kept their core sound, adding a tone of melody and harmonies. There are a number of great songs, at times breathtaking, with ‘Devil’s Eye’, ‘Revealing The Darkness’ and ‘The Four Blessings’ taking center stage. To be honest though, brilliant as the songs are, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the album anywhere near as much if the production was not as crisp and powerful as it is. The whole combination make for what I believe is Brainstorm’s best and most consistent album to date.
Brainstorm and melodic metal fans in general should not let this one pass them by.
Rating: 94 out of 100.