Brainstorm - Soul Temptation

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14437-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:28:00

Gary: "Yes, Yes, Yes! The new Brainstorm is upon us and it is GREAT."

All-Knowing Being (just pretend, Ok): "Calm down, Gary. Relax. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat after me: Be objective."

Gary (slowly): "Be Ob-jec-tive. Ok, I'll try."

This is Brainstorm's 5th album, their third in their current line-up of Andy B. Franck (v; Symphorce, ex-Ivanhoe), Milan Loncaric (g), Torsten Ihlenfeld (g), Andreas Mailander (b), and Dieter Bernert (d). And on the last three albums the band have powered ahead, literally, to the stage where I ask: can they get any better? What they've managed to achieve, none to subtly either, is to push themselves into the top bracket of power metal acts coming out of Germany.

When Metus Mortis came along in 2001 the band really upped the power metal aspect of the band. And like the recently released Chinchilla album Madtropolis, what Brainstorm have managed to achieve on Soul Temptation is the diversity of Ambiguity with the pure power metal heaviness of Metus Mortis - all surrounded by a traditional German sounding production with a similar sound as Primal Fear.

The opening tracks of Soul Temptation are some of the best I've heard and it is immediately apparent that they have pulled back from the straight laced powering of Metus Mortis. The power is still there, but there's more focus, more stunning melodies, and, importantly, there's more attention paid to their song-writing. The strong opening lasts the whole album with Soul Temptation's variation a wonderful example of what power metal can be; especially when the songs are developed by professional musicians such as Brainstorm. As you may have gathered, this album is not about standard power metal - this is about breaking the often hard-to-crack boundaries and rules of said genre. Granted, there are straight numbers on here such as the double-bass kicking "To the Head," the melody-thumping "Dying Outside," and "Doorway To Survive." But the variety is there in tracks like the opener "Highs Without Lows" and the simply incredible, almost Ivanhoe-like, melody-laden "The Leading." They've brought back the Oriental/Asian theme from Ambiguity ("Maharaja Place") with the unreachable 18 minute trilogy "Trinity Of Lust" featuring "Shiva's Tears," "Fornever" (I love those mixing of English words), and the title track "Soul Temptation." These three are the highlight on the album. A couple of slower, traditional mid-tempo tracks include "Fading" and "Rising," both enjoyable in their own right, but more conventional than the rest of the album.

A few words on the performances. I don't even think I need to talk about Andy B. Franck on vocals. He just has the voice to make an exceptional power metal disc. And the production of the vocals have allowed the band to really add depth to the album. The two guitarists here, Loncaric and Ihlenfeld, have really infected the album with mainly melodic, hard driving, groove-oriented riffs and their solos are solid - nice and powerful - not always original but catchy and heavy. The rhythm section of Bernert and Mailander aren't just playing your standard mix either - this is about variety! And terrific work by keyboardist Miro, too. It's the little things that count and it's the little things that have been added in the keyboard's creation.

As you can guess, I do love this album, and it is THE album I was hoping Brainstorm would create; a heavy power metal disc with some distinct progressive variety.

P.S. For people who love Special Limited Editions then get a load of this - The Double Digi-pak comprises of one bonus track and a second disc that features a DVD with Brainstorm's complete Summer Breeze 2002 festival; 45 minutes of live Brainstorm.

Similar To: Primal Fear, Symphorce

[This review originally appeared June 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Highs Without Lows / Doorway To Survive / The Leading / Nunca Nos Rendimos / Fading / Trinity Of Lust: I. Shiva's Tears / II. Fornever / III. Soul Temptation / Dying Outside / To The Head / Rising

Bonus tracks (Europe): Amarillo (Tony Christie cover) / DVD "Live Suffering" (see tracklisting below)

Bonus tracks (Japan): Don't Wait For Me (Vicious Rumors cover) / Blind Suffering (live at Summer Breeze 2002) / Crush Depth (live at Summer Breeze 2002)

DVD tracklist: Metus Mortis (Intro) / Blind Suffering / Crush Depth / Shadowland / Voices / Checkmate In Red / Liar's Edge / Hollow Hideaway / Under Lights

Andy B. Franck - lead & back-up vocals
Torsten Ihlenfeld - guitars, back-up vocals
Milan Loncaric - guitars, back-up vocals
Andy Mailänder - bass
Dieter Bernert - drums

Additional Musician: Michael Rodenberger - keyboards

Hungry (1997/2007)
Unholy (1998/2007)
Ambiguity (2000)
Metus Mortis (2001)
Soul Temptation (2003)
Liquid Monster (2005)
Downburst (2008)

Honey From The Bs (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: December 8th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1762
Language: english


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