Brainstorm - Scary Creatures

Brainstorm Scary Creatures cover
Scary Creatures
AFM Records
Brainstorm have existed as long back as in 1989, but it took them a decade to debut and then they did have some slight line-up changes, but they’ve largely stayed “constant” over all those many years, producing some eleven albums in the meantime some on metal blade and the later on AFM. They’ve been pretty consistent to their heavy, quite dark and a little “intricate” metal (that’s not to dissimilar to how Vicious Rumors sounded post CA, maybe Symphorce (one of the other bands of their singer) and Nocturnal Rites, ever since they started and singer Andy B.Frank has been with them for the past nine studio releases so… they’ve been around and together for a long time, only changing a bassist since the beginning at some point in the mid-00s.
“Scary Creatures” follows 2014’s “Firesoul” album and its makers obviously profess it’s “better” and a bit of a masterpiece, boasts which, I however have to cringe at and digress… while “Scary Creatures” is a good album for sure, it both feels a little less spontaneous and a little more underwhelming compared with its predecessor. Actually the opening three or four songs, don’t quite manage to “kill it” despite them not being too bad .
Opener “The World to See” is quite impressive and intricate a piece as they come, but since it’s too “controlled” and never goes fully pedal to the metal, it doesn’t manage to deliver its full payload, despite a nice enough verse and chorus melody...
“How Much Can You Take” seriously slows things down, sounds muscular and all but despite a nice riff and some pretty cool leads that lead to an interesting verse. It’s not top notch and becomes a bit too repetitive.
“We Are...” builds to some “crescendo that never quite comes, I mean it has an “ok chorus” but then it just dwells on it for too long repeating it numerous times and especially, towards the end with a “children choir” that really sounds a little out of place really.
“Where Angels Dream” is both speeding things up a notch and enhances the melodies, but not to the point of being amazing…
The first track that really works is the eponymous “Scary Creatures” slower but not by much, darker and way heavier and delivering both some nice verses, some cool underlying melodies and a great bridge that ends up in a chorus form with an eerie atmosphere, permanent all through the track’s duration.
“Twisted Ways” manages to keep the momentum, dark melodic and a touch quicker with a nice enough chorus that flirts with Europower, but never becomes too “light” or “cheesy”.
From that point on the album is pretty much on with “Caressed by the Blackness” also following suit pretty similarly, in a more mid-tempo way with Frank’s delivery a bit reminiscent of latter day Savatage with Stevens.
“Scars in Your Eyes” manages to take the bands style a step forward, both dramatic and also interesting with a heavy backbone, but generous amounts of melody on top and interesting ideas throughout and even Frank belting a bit higher than he does most elsewhere.
“Take Me to the Never” feels like a mix of the previous couple of numbers while the band manages to somewhat pull a couple of extra stops for “Sky Among the Clouds”, which is a little deeper, again not straying from the overall style, but well executed.
There’s an extra track on the limited edition, “Lift Your Eyes to See” that’s again in tune with the rest of the album as well as a bonus DVD with “The World to See” video clip & a Live concert in Essen, from 2014 with the band performing the entire “Firesoul” album plus many more songs... which is nice as added value.
A decent album, by a decent hardworking band, but nowhere near “a masterpiece”.