|Review: Brainstorm - Metus Mortis|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2001
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 12, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.48/5 (89.57%) (23 Votes)
You forget how damn cool Brainstorm are sometimes, so it's a good thing we have albums like 2001's Metus Mortis to remind us. Falling slap bang between the adventurous Ambiguity and the supreme Soul Temptation, this pretty much sounds exactly as you'll imagine if you picture the Germans in their heyday. Heavy, thrash-tinged riffs, splattering double kick work, gigantic hooks, and dark, introspective lyrics. Brainstorm have always been on the bleaker side when it comes to Power Metal, but the vocal lines are among some of their catchiest here, with Andy B Franck really coming into his own, getting comfortable with the Brainstorm sound and letting it work for him.
As a guitar duo, Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric are unstoppable, and Metus Mortis finds them working to upstage each other with their mountain of riffs, some of which are just chugging on the E string, but hell, it gets the head a-banging, so who are we to complain? After an industrial intro, the band set off with the ass-kicking "Blind Suffering", a classic Brainstorm opener with a fantastic chorus and some immensely powerful vocals from Franck. "Shadowland" is up next, a faster tune with an intense refrain, and then we have "Checkmate In Red", yet another classic stomper that set the blueprint for the chunkier numbers on later albums. From then on, things get a little too familiar with "Weakness Sows Its Seed" and "Under Lights" being good, but not great, and generally there is the feeling that (like most Brainstorm albums) there are songs like "Cycles" and "Meet Me In The Dark" that aren't bland enough to be filler, but not quite exemplary and killer. The good outweighs the plain, with "Hollow Hideaway" and "Strength Of Will" showing the band's melodic side, and "Into The Never" is a skin-shredder that, again, proves how cool Brainstorm can be.
Fans of dark, visceral Power Metal need to seek this out, as it is one of Brainstorm's better albums, but it's not their most complete. Instead, it's the album that set them on a path towards their greatest work.
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