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Brainstorm

Memorial Roots

Review by Gary Hill

This is a cool disc. It combines classic metal with European epic metal and other forms of true steel to create a sound that never gets tiring or redundant but still feels cohesive. These guys understand the principal of album pacing as they lead off with one of the strongest cuts of the set and then save the rest of the real killers for the end. That said, nothing here is weak by itself. It’s just that some of the tracks don’t stand quite as tall as others.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Forsake What I Believed

Sound effects and ambient elements lead off here. Then symphonic music joins and this builds like some ominous movie soundtrack. Around the minute and a half mark it powers out into metal with a killer riff driven motif and the non-lyrical vocals scream across the top in classic power metal fashion. They drop it back a bit for the verse. This segment is dramatic, if not as busy. We move through a number of changes all in a great epic metal motif.

Shiver
More straightforward metal, this one rocks out quite well. In some ways it reminds me a bit of the more rocking side of The Scorpions. It’s a good tune and while not as inspiring as the opener it still works very well. There are definitely hints of Judas Priest in this, too.  Following a different piece this would seem like a great tune. Next to that opener, though, it pales a bit.
The Conjunction Of 7 Planets
Starting with a  proggy intro, this fires out into something that makes me think of Operation Mindcrime era Queensryche – and that’s a great thing. It drops way down for the verse, though and that echo vanishes. It comes across more as a metal ballad in the epic fashion. The powered up segment later makes me think of Iron Maiden quite a bit. There are a number of alterations in this, but it still remains a fairly straight path. 
Cross The Line
A real screamer this one combines modern metal sounds with Iron Maiden type music. It’s the most furious cut to this point. I can hear Ripper era Priest on this, too. 
Nailed Down Dreams
This one comes more into the epic metal category. There are some keyboards in the mix here and a nice contrast between the melodic rocking motif and the mellower segments. The guitar solo section on this is particularly tasty. 
Blood Still Stains
Another screamer, this is a little dark. It has a nice blending of modern and classic metal elements. It’s another that reminds me a bit Ripper Owens era Judas Priest. 
Ahimsa
Another powerhouse track, this one feels a lot like Iron Maiden. It’s a strong piece and still has some epic metal within. Overall, though, it wouldn’t be a big stretch to believe that this is Iron Maiden. 
The Final Stages Of Decay
There were some hints of 1980’s hair metal on the previous number. This comes in with a piano and then full band treatment that really feels tied to that style. When it moves out to the verse it becomes more epic metal again, but overall this piece combines those two elements. It does lean more to the epic metal sounds (almost fully eschewing those hair metal sounds) as it carries on and this is one of the more complex arrangements here. 
Victim
Combining those epic metal sounds with something akin to early Metallica, I like this a lot. It might not have the power and majesty of some of the rest of the music, but it’s just plain cool. 
When No One Cares
Here is another that’s closer to the epic metal approach. It’s really mean at the same time, though. This is one of my favorite cuts on the album. It’s just so accessible and tasty at the same time. There are still hints of Iron Maiden on this, but they really are just hints.
Would You
Here’s another great piece of music. This combines smoking metal structures with an accessible chorus and some definite epic metal trappings. There’s a tasty drop down later that provides both drama and contrast.
 
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