Brainstorm – Midnight Storm (2018)

Another of my reviews previously posted to Ever Metal

Being just over forty years of age but preferring a lot of the older bands, I was always late to the party where many bands were concerned. Brainstorm were one of these such bands. I first heard them one night when I was browsing through YouTube. They appeared as a “recommended bands” on the right-hand side of the screen so I thought I would check them. And I am glad I did. From the very first track I listened to, I loved them. They were just the sort of metal that I loved.

But, then they kind of disappeared from my radar.

So, when Rick sent me the new album, I just had to review it to see if they are still as good as I remembered. And they are!! But first a little history!

Brainstorm are power metal band from Germany (where else? All the decent power metal bands seem to come from Germany!) They were formed in 1989 (hence why I was late to the party with these guys. I was only 12!) by guitarists, Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric, and drummer Dieter Bernert, and are known for playing a somewhat darker style of music than most power metal bands.

During their early years they built up a solid groundwork with several demo releases and live appearance. They signed their first record deal in 1997 and the self-produced album “Hungry” was released, to great reviews. Chart entries in many European countries followed and their intense live performances were catapulting them into the champions league of or metal, resulting in the band being asked to perform at many of the big festivals.

And now on to their new album “Midnight Ghost”. This is the band’s 12th studio album (man, I need to buy some of their back catalogue), produced by Seeb Levermann and recorded at the Greenman Studios. It was released on 28th September 2018 by AFM Records.

Although not a concept album in the strictest sense of the word, there is a thematic thread running through the tracks…the fear of ghosts, monsters under your bed, the bogeyman in your wardrobe and wild beasts in the night….all fears that many of us have had since childhood and this is all depicted magnificently in the cover artwork produced by Gyula Havancsak (who has also worked with the likes of Accept and Stratovarius).

This album has a sound that it bound to delight all power metal fans and was even a surprise for the five band members themselves. Says vocalist Andy P Franck; “It’s pretty unusual that musicians still get the shivers down their spines when they listen to the new material after a long and energy-sapping production. In this case, we can really say that all Brainstorm musicians are total fans of our new recording. Midnight Ghost is the album we want to be measured by in the future.”

From the anthemic opener “Devil’s Eye” to the driving “When Pain Becomes Real” to the punchy “Haunting Voices”, Brainstorm more than live up to the term ‘melodic power metal.’  They deliver the full range of their typical trademarks, awesome melodies, dynamic grooves and extremely heavy, pounding guitar riffs. The galloping drums that I so love are there too, and of course, magnificent vocals. One of the things that made me fall in love with this band the first time I heard them was Andy P Franck’s voice. Strong and powerful yet able to carry off a huge range that adds dimension to the band’s sound and this he still has in abundance!

All the tracks are fantastic in their own right but together they make up an awesome album that should be in any metal fan’s collection. Not only do they bring the power element that they are so good at, but there are elements of thrash, traditional and speed metal too.

Says Andy P Franck; “Midnight Ghost is faster, more melodic and at the same time also tougher than all our previous releases.” And I couldn’t agree more. Why stick to one genre or aspect of metal when you can combine many and achieve a sound like this?

I can’t fault this album really and I really don’t want to take it out of my car. But, alas, needs must for the next review!

All I can say though is, when are you coming to England guys!!?


01 – Devil’s Eye

02 – Revealing The Darkness

03 – Ravenous Minds

04 – The Pyre

05 – Jeanne Boulet (1764)

06 – Divine Inner Ghost

07 – When Pain Becomes Real

08 – The Four Blessings

09 – Haunting Voices

10 – The Path


Reproduced with kind permission from Ever Metal

Behind The Smokescreen – Scars Within EP

Another one of my reviews that was originally posted to Ever Metal

One thing we are proud of at Ever Metal is the diversity and range of music that we review. My last three reviews couldn’t have been any more different if I tried. I have gone from a progressive rock band to a 60’s/70’s influenced psychedelic band and now to this new EP from Greek band Behind The Smokescreen, an aggressive / groove metal outfit.

Formed in Ioannina, Greece, in 2013, the band is made up of Nikonas Tsolakos on vocals, Nasos Drougas on rhythm guitars and backing vocals, Kyriakos Magdalis on drums, Evaggelos Roukos on bass and Dimitris Lucas on lead guitars. The EP was mixed and mastered at Crown Audio Conspiracies by Achilleas Kalantzis and the cover artwork was designed by Giannis Tagmatarchis.

This is a band who wear their influences on their sleeve and have maintained a great respect and admiration for bands such as Pantera, Machinehead, Lamb of God and Black Label Society. I’m sure they would be the first to admit they are not trying to break any new ground with this EP, but it is still a stonking recording none the less.

The EP kicks off with ‘Too Ambitious’ and I absolutely loved the opening intro with its galloping guitars and heavy riffs that rumble in your belly. I was expecting really growling vocals to kick in (probably because experience has shown me that if I really love the music, I am going to hate the vocals!) but was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t. The vocals are aggressive and in your face, but at least you can still hear what the singer is singing and is even quite melodic in places.

The guitar work is fantastic throughout the EP and the solos are out of this world. The rhythm section is solid, and everybody seems to fit together perfectly. I do think a lot of the heavier bands are accused of “just making a noise” but it takes a lot of talent to be able to make a noise and it be as good as this EP!

My head was banging, and my foot was tapping the whole way through this and I just wished it lasted longer! I think these guys would be immense in a live setting so if I hear they are visiting London town at any point I will be there, with bells on! (well ok studs and buckles but you get my drift!)

I hope these guys are going to put out a full-length album soon but, in the meantime, I will go and check out their previously released album “Age of Corruption.” I suggest you all go and do the same!

As the famous Oliver once said…. please sir, can I have some more?!


1 Too Ambitious

2 Broken Is The Word

3 Future Re-Set

4 Shelter In I (Bonus)


Originally posted on Ever Metal – Reproduced here with kind permission

Stormchild – Lightning Never Strikes Twice (2020)

Here is The Metal Asylum’s review of Stormchild’s latest album “Lightning Never Strikes Twice”

Chris Mitchell, from Bolton band Stormchild, first approached me after I had made a Facebook page about links to band’s merchandise and kindly sent me one of the band’s t-shirts, which I promised I would take a photo of me wearing which I have, as yet, still not done. Chris, that’s next on my list!!!

The conversation got round to the band’s new album and I promised them a review, which, after a bit of time (again, sorry Chris!) is finally here.

But let us start at the beginning!

Stormchild was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1979 when a group of talented teenagers decided to form a hard rock band and after winning a national rock talent competition against 1800 other competitors, they should have been well on their way. The prize was a record deal with Kilo Records, managed by Paradise Promotions, an all-paid for flat in the West End, musical equipment, a press launch and a support slot in America with Bob Seger!! However, the night before they were due to leave for London, the promotion company went into liquidation!

Kilo Records released a demo single ‘Rockin Steady’ and the late, great Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Yngwie Malmsteen) agreed to produce them but the band split up in 1982 before they had the chance to work with him.

Fast forward to 2015 and, after discovering the band actually had quite a large following despite splitting up so early, the original members of the band met up again in Bolton and plans were made to record a new album with songs from 1979 – 1981, with Chris Tsangarides as producer!

And “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” which is title of one of the band’s early tracks, was born.

So, what sort of sound do Stormchild have? Originating in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal era, they don’t really have the typical NWOBHM sound. As many of you might remember from previous reviews from me, I am not the biggest fan of NWOBHM, but Stormchild has a totally unique sound that could fit well in a number of different genres. The band’s promo material states, “these songs are over 30 years old, but still sound so fresh and different” and I couldn’t agree more!

This album has a bit of everything, rocky little numbers that make you bop away in your chair (or around the living room if you are feeling a little bit more energetic!) and slower tracks that almost border on ballads (and who doesn’t love a good rock ballad?), all brought together with great musicianship.

They got together in 1979 as talented teenagers and they have brought that talent together in this album, with fantastic guitar solos, a tight rhythm section and vocals which are ideally suited to the type of music being played.

Maybe if this band had carried on in the 80’s I might have been a bigger fan of NWOBHM (although retrospectively as I am FAR too young to have lived through the original NWOBHM era!!) The more I listen to this album the more I like it and coming from a thrash girl that really is a good thing!

I hope when the world gets back to normal, or as close to it as we can, I will catch these guys at a gig somewhere. I want to see that great live show with all the pyrotechnics that they have a gained a reputation for.

Great job Stormchild, keep up the good work and looking forward to the next offering!

Track Listing

No Chances

Riders On The Rain

Lights, Camera, Action

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

When The Lights Go Down


Rockin Steady

Can’t Stand The Heat

Stay With Me

Sands Of Time

What To Try


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