Brainstorm - Metus Mortis

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: 3984-14384
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:11:00

BrainstormI really enjoy the overall sound of Brainstorm's Metus Mortis. Their style is similar to Jag Panzer, and their sound is similiar to Shadow Gallery -- which means you get meaty, masculine themes with beautifully chorused voices. Vocalist Andy B Franck thus has voice that is one part Harry Conklin, one part Mike Baker; like Conklin, he can exude hardness and power without resorting to "cookie monster" vocals (though here and there they are used for accent or emphasis). We also need to acknowledge some Iron Maiden influence here, too. Being metal, the music is assertive, and drummer Dieter Bernert certainly does pummel his kit with intense ferocity. Examples are the equally propulsive "Shadowland," "Cycles," and "Strength Of Will" (this latter track has a thunderous drumbeat that you will feel right to the core). "Cycles" is very much in your face -- but for the choruses I think of Master Of Puppets period Metallica, even down to the sandpaper vocals of Franck (just the right amount of growl). Brainstorm have a twin guitar attack, Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric, each playing clear, melodic lead lines (and providing backing vocals). Though don't think that there aren't speedy, thundering runs to be heard as well. There's some great guitar interplay in "Meet Me In The Dark," too. And dhugging along underneath is booming bass of Andreas Mailänder. Along for the ride is keyboardist Michael "Miro" Rodenberger who guests here - and whose playing is highlighted on the epic "Weakness Sows It Seed," including an all too brief piano phrase that tinkles during the fadeout.

Metus Mortis is Brainstorm's fourth album, their second with Franck on vocals and their second through Metal Blade. However, this is my first encounter, so how this compares with their previous releases Ambiguity (2000), Unholy (1998), and Hungry (1997), I can't say. But, if you're looking for another band that balance power and melodicism, dark themes with accessible arrangements, then Brainstorm fit the bill. The production work by Achim Kohler on this album is very clean and clear, with great dynamic range.

If hit potential were a factor, any one of the album's tracks would qualify. Each have that requisite quality of memorable choral hooks that stick in one's mind. I like every track here -- nothing needs to be skipped or programmed out. That they follow, pretty much, a verse/chorus/verse structure more associated with straight metal (and pop), means that this band isn't strictly progressive. But there's a seriousness here, the darkness and gloominess, that keeps any of this away from the annoying aspects of "nu-metal." Meaning that the prog metal fan that appreciates metal in general will find quite a bit to like here. It's a fun journey that Brainstorm take you on, even though the subject matter contains no levity. The last track, "Strength Of Will," for example, is a rollercoaster ride that leaves nearly breathless at the end. It ends such that you are hoping for either a mellower track to balance it out, or that you had put the disc on repeat so that the opening instrumental "Metus Mortis" can bring about the same results.

Solid stuff.

Metus Mortis (1:06) / Blind Suffering (4:23) / Shadowland (3:51) / Checkmate In Red (4:28) / Weakness Sows Its Seed (4:25) / Into The Never (5:45) / Under Lights (4:22) / Cycles (6:05) / Behind (4:27) / Meet Me In The Dark (4:26) / Strength Of Will (3:11)

Andy B Franck - lead and backing vocals
Torsten Ihlenfeld - guitars and backing vocals
Milan Loncaric - guitars and backing vocals
Andreas Mailänder - bass
Dieter Bernert - drums


Michael 'Miro' 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: April 21st 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1021
Language: english


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