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Brainstorm: Liquid Monster

Germany's underrated Brainstorm has followed up 2004's rare U.S. appearances - one, at ProgPower USA V in Atlanta, arguably ranks among that festival's best sets ever - with a monster of a record.

Liquid Monster devours 2003's Soul Temptation - a solid disc but one that lacked some of the luster of previous Brainstorm records, which always seem to combine Maiden and Priest riffs with provocative lyrics and anthem-like choruses. In fact, Brainstorm's sixth album sounds more like a record from Symphorce (singer Andy B. Franck's other band), mainly because of the rousing gang vocals that make songs like "Invisible Enemy," "Painside" and "All Those Words" sound huge. Franck's powerful voice once again echoes the deeper ranges of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford while expanding its own reach. "Inside the Monster," the album's best song, is a perfect example. Dual guitars, strategic keyboards from guest musician Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell) and a, uh, monstrous rhythm section inject this Brainstorm record with more lethal melodies, emotion and attitude than ever, notching the band above the progressive-tinged Symphorce for the first time since Franck took over vocal duties for both.

It's still early in the year, but for sheer metal majesty without the pomp, pretension or manic tempos so many of its European peers invoke, Brainstorm may have released one of the best albums of 2005. It's certainly the best of this band's rapidly evolving career.

Track Listing:
1) Worlds Are Comin' Through
2) Inside the Monster
3) All Those Words
4) Lifeline
5) Invisible Enemy
6) Heavenly
7) Painside
8) Despair to Drown
9) Mask of Life
10) Even Higher
11) Burns My Soul

Added: January 28th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Brainstorm Web Site
Hits: 4406
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Brainstorm: Liquid Monster
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-28 15:59:15
My Score:

I have to say that I really liked Brainstorm from the second I began listening to Liquid Monster, there was something about it that simply appealed to me a little more than other recent Power Metal had done. Great songs across the whole album and a solid production that makes you feel the music as well as hear it. Lead singer Andy Franck who is also known for his band Symphorce really has a classic vocalist style to him. There are moments of Geoff Tate in his register and while he does not sound like a clone there was just something familiar about his singing that makes them easier to enjoy. It was interesting to find the overall sound of Brainstorm to be different from Symphorce which allows fans of one to easily appreciate the other. I would have to say overall that the players in this band take you back to the earlier days of the genre when it comes to their style. It is not over the top speed or too technically difficult to follow. It is basic Heavy Metal done with a solid amount of backing vocals that add to the delivery of each track. "Inside The Monster" while the second track pretty much aptly describe where the listener will find themselves by playing this album. "Lifeline" thunders by you with great drum run and is among the fastest tunes on the CD and brings to mind classic Metal numbers like "Fast As A Shark". For the ballad lover there is "Heavenly" which shows that it is not all slam-bang for this band and Andy's voice really shines during this one. Another pounding track is "Invisible Enemy". Each track offers a nice take by mixing a good chorus inside the piece which is very easy to pick up and have you repeating your listen. The sad thing is a band like this will probably never see the USA all that much for the market for Metal is so scattered and the only way for best exposure is one of these Festivals like Ozzfest which leans to the "thrash core" aspect.

The roster of the group is of course Andy Franck (vocals) who fronts this very tight line of musicians such as Torsten Ihlenfeld (guitars), Milan Loncaric (guitars), Andreas Mailander (bass) and Dieter Bernert (drums). Franck is the second singer, joining the group in 1999 from their 1989 formation. Given the level of quality of this German powerhouse of Metal I am saddened that it has taken me this long to hear of them. Fans of groups like Tad Morose who also have a very classic style to their Metal will love Brainstorm and the more I listen the more I find myself thinking that this is one of the best releases of its year.

Brainstorm: Liquid Monster
Posted by Peter Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-04-09 09:42:16
My Score:

Aptly titled, the 2005 release from Brainstorm Liquid Monster is indeed a monster record, and sure to be one of the years best metal albums. Filled with "monstrous" hooks, pumeling riffs, symphonic arrangements, and chorus after chorus fueled by anthemic vocals, this is sure to get every metal fans testosterone level raised and to the boiling point.

What is instantly recognizable are the vocals of Andy Franck, who seems to be more sure of himself this go-round, and the results really show. While his vocals are also strong in his other band Symphorce, here on Liquid Monster, his attack is more varied, as he throws in bits of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, even a little King Diamond for good measure. This mix of styles and influences propel powerful progressive metal anthems like "Worlds Are Coming Through" and "Inside the Monster" to the heavens.

Speedy power metal is all the rage on "Lifeline", which sees drummer Dieter Bernert laying down furious rhythms under the rapid riffage of guitarists Torsten "Todde" Ihlenfeld and Milan "Mille" Loncaric. The two axe-men weave intricate harmonies on the heavy "Invisible Enemy" , while the chunky "Painside" has some neat keyboards and catchy melodies. Perhaps the pinnacle of the album is "Mask of Life", a whopping slice of melodic power/prog metal, featuring Franck's powerful vocals, huge hooks, and sledgehammer yet intricate guitar riffs.

In short, this is a major success for Brainstorm, who should reap the rewards that are sure to come for creating such a powerful metal statement.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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