Brainstorm – ‘Midnight Ghost’ Album Review

The chain of circumstantial evidence is long and speaks for itself: Brainstorm’s new album, Midnight Ghost, is a veritable milestone. There are plenty of reasons for this, starting with the initial compilation of ideas through the meticulous development of the song arrangements and concentrated production at Sebastian ‘Seeb’ Levermann’s (Orden Ogan) Greenman Studios to the atmospheric cover artwork courtesy of Gyula Havancsak (Accept, Stratovarius). All the cogs have obviously meshed and produced a result that’s bound to delight all power metal fans and has even surprised the five band members themselves. “It’s pretty unusual that musicians still get 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,” says vocalist Andy B. Franck, adding: “Midnight Ghost is the album we want to be measured by in the future.”

Are there special reasons for this creative avalanche that was kicked off almost two years ago and has now culminated in ten new songs?

I’m asking myself the above question whilst listening to what I thought was a pretty poor opener in ‘Devil’s Eye’. A potentially good song seems to be drowned by the relentless double bass drums. But the disappointment didn’t last long as we hit into ‘Revealing The Darkness’, which again starts with the double bass drum, but soon turns into a very nice verse with some great guitar licking, together with a killer bridge. Proper metal this, with hints of Accept thrown in for good measure.

If you’re into your melodic / hard metal then this album will be for you. I do feel like these guys are stuck a little in the 80’s which admittedly isn’t a bad thing I suppose, just not quite for me. Some people move on, some don’t. There’s no right or wrong in that whatsoever. As we reach ‘Jeanne Boulet 1764’, which starts in a very Tenacious D way, we are treated to a far more in-depth effort of what this band can do. A dark, melodic, synth filled anthem which is by far the best effort on this album so far.I’m loving the start of ‘Divine Inner Ghost’ with it’s driving riff, a great verse to the song but unfortunately it doesn’t last long when the chorus kicks in. I’m finding the chorus here all seem to be a bit too melodic for me. We’ve got good openings to tracks and verses and then we are let down by the chorus.

Overall a good album for the metalheads out there. Me personally, I prefer a little more diversity but I’ve heard a lot worse.

Score 6/10

Reviewed by Sty

Track Listing

1 – Devil’s Eye

2 – Revealing The Darkness

3 – Ravenous Minds

4 – The Pyre

5 – Jeanne Boulet 1764

6 – Divine Inner Ghost

7 – When Pain Becomes Real

8 – Four Blessings

9 – Haunting Voices

10 – The Path


Andy B.Franck – Vocals

Torsten Ihlenfeld – Guitars

Milan Loncaric – Guitars

Antonio Leva – Bass

Dieter Bernert – Drums

Dream Child – ‘Until Death Do We Meet Again’ Album Review

Dream Child – Until Death Do We Meet Again
‘more Dio than Dio!’
Dream Child is a band comprising of some 80s heavyweights in Craig Goldy (ex-Dio, Guiffria), Simon Wright (ex AC/DC, Dio, Operation:Mindcrime) and Rudy Sarzo ex-Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Whitesnake and Dio). Along for the ride are Wayne Findlay (ex-MSG) and Diego Valdez (Helker). As you can see these guys all have form. 
Craig Goldy says, “the band Dream Child was conceived during a brainstorming session with Serafino (President of Frontiers) and I one day while discussing other matters. I had been listening to my favorite bands a lot recently, Deep Purple and Rainbow’s “Rising” album, among others in that style and had noticed that many people who also love those bands often have the very same comments as one another: “They don’t make music like that anymore!” Even though I said that in passing, Serafino asked me a question that would forever shape my future. He simply asked, “Well, can you?” and I said…..”YES!!!”
During the very first public memorial for our most beloved Ronnie James Dio, I had mentioned that whenever I do start writing original material again that I would utilize everything that I had learned from working side by side with the Master for so many years in such a way that I would hope to make him proud….and here it is! The name is inspired by one of his lyrics on the “Dream Evil” album and the nickname he gave me at the time, Dream Child!
The video for opener ‘Under The Wire’ has been available for some weeks now, and it just hammers home the Dio legacy that they are aiming for. Spookily the opening tinkles are very close indeed to a part of Tubular Bells, or many may know it as the theme to The Exorcist. ‘You Cant Take Me Down’s’ opening draws on Dio’s Sabbath era and is very ‘Sign Of The Southern Cross’ before Valdez wails and channels his inner Ronnie. If you try to write an 80s classic sounding album in 2018 then the Dio references will come thick and fast due to him having three of the best albums of this period. I can even see Valdez in my minds eye spinning his mic stand as he bangs it out. The guy is a very decent Dio foil indeed. Goldy goes straight for the Strat and the solo is typical Rainbow! So far, so good by me. 
‘Games Of Shadows’ does what it says on the tin, another Sabb-Di-bow construction. My ears prick up at the 2:15 point in ‘It Is What It Is’, and I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the exact same riff from Rough Cutt’s ‘Take Her’. Its not even ‘tweaked’ to sound similar. In fact, bands have been sued for less. ‘Playing With Fire’ is the first deviation where the vocals are at a higher register, and with its decent riff and drumming make it different from the norm. The title track ‘Until Death Do We Meet Again’ is Dio by any other name, its like a mix of the ‘big number’ that Ronnie had on all of his albums – Last In Line, Sunset Superman, All The Fools Sailed Away, and is the meat in this sandwich and is huge in sound, scale and length. 
The next three songs leave me a bit perplexed – ‘Washed Upon The Shore’ has a lengthy into but doesn’t lag for it, but when the vocals do kick in, it’s the one song where they don’t match the high standard of the riff.  It’s a song that doesn’t quite know if it wants to be an epic length instrumental (which it should have been) or a song. I could have done without it. ‘In A World So Cold’ is standard fare for them now, but is nothing special. ‘Weird World’ is a bit of a, well, ‘weird’ song compared to the rest of what’s on offer here. Then finally we are onto another lengthy 9 minuter, in ‘One Step Beyond The Grave’ where they redeem themselves from the last few songs. Its got Sarzo’s pounding bass, atmospheric keyboards, and a punchy riff similar to ‘Egypt (The Chains Are On)’. It climaxes with Craig Goldy wringing every last note out of his guitar to the fade out.
As an album there’s nothing new here for you, but as a sound harking back to the great days of the 80s, it nails it smack in the middle, and I think that’s what Goldy wanted to do. It transported me to the early 80s. Ronnie would be proud at Goldy’s sentiments, as aside from them doing a tribute album covering his songs, an album produced in a ‘classic rock sound’ doesn’t get much better than this. I could have done with 2-3 fewer tracks towards the end as I feel as if they wanted to fill every second available to them on a CD.
Fair dues to all the guys here as lets face it, they could have phoned in their bits from the old rockers care home in Hollywood. Thankfully they have all stepped up to the plate and made it one hell of an enjoyable album, and isnt that what music is all about?
Score 8/10
Tracklisting –
Under The Wire
You Can’t Take Me Down
Games Of Shadows
It Is What It Is
Playing With Fire
Light Of The Dark
Midnight Song
Until Death Do We Meet Again
Washed Upon The Shore
In A World So Cold
Weird World
One Step Beyond The Grave
Craig Goldy – Lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards and bass
Rudy Sarzo – Bass 
Simon Wright – Drums
Wayne Findlay – Keyboards
Diego Valdez – Lead Vocals and background vocals
PRODUCED BY :  Alessandro Del Vecchio & Craig Goldy
Special honourable mention to Rudy Sarzo, Diego Valdez and Wayne Findlay who engineered the studio recordings of their own amazing performances captured on this album!
Simon Wright’s drum recorded at:
STUDIO: The Boom Room
RECORDED BY: Christian Hogan
MIXED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio & Craig Goldy
MASTERED BY: Alessandro Del Vecchio

Atlas – ‘In Pursuit Of Memory’ Album Review

Atlas – In Pursuit Of Memory
Last year Atlas produce a little gem of an EP that was well worth your hard earned readies. Fast forward 12 months and the lad have a new album out via AOR Heaven. Well done, I knew you had it in ya! If you don’t know about them then heres a brief lowdown….
Atlas are James Thorley (Keyboards, programming and percussion), John Moss (Lead Guitars), Howie Little (Lead Guitars), Chris Redfearn (Bass Guitar) and Craig Wells (Lead Vocals). Keyboard player Thorley founded the band in early 2017 with the intention to create a band that centered its roots around the AOR and Melodic Rock genre whilst delving into other areas of Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive and even Jazz. Five keyboard demos were produced by Thorley during the first few months of 2017. 

Sam Millar of UK rock band Bigfoot contributed to the backing vocals on this EP which got self-released through their band camp website in late August 2017. He also provided ‘guest vocals’ on the album as well; his vocal harmony contributions can be heard throughout most of the tracks and add a much desired AOR factor that the band often desire in their songs. Christoffer Borg (Taste, Art Nation) was chosen as the mixing and mastering engineer.
Opener, ‘Samsara’ is a bit hit and miss for my liking, mainly down to Wells’ vocals. He took me a while to get into the pitch level. That’s more my tinnitus than his vocal range! That said, the chorus makes up for any of my misgivings and all in all, it’s a very decent start to proceedings.

With songs like ‘Bad Habit’, you can immediately hear the Dream Theater influences, melding melodic rock with widdly guitar and keyboard frippery while maintaining that melodic keystone. Both ‘Breathe Me In’ and ‘Flesh and Blood’ are as close to AOR as you can get with their great melodies and are similar in vein to what the Scandinavians like WOA do ever so well. Only now it’s a UK band beating them at their own game. ‘As Time Goes By’ immediately grabs my attention. A combination of a decent riff, which reminds me a bit of Journey’s ‘Edge Of  The Moment’ and is a definite highlight. ‘In The Frame’ raises its head for the chorus, and there’s lots of little snippets in all these songs that will strike a chord with you – Journey, WOA, DT, and dare I say it, The Quest. ‘Lock and Key’ is very melodic in its sound, where the keys and guitar tale prominence, and their sound on ‘L&K’ reminds me in parts of a once great UK band called Balance Of Power. ‘Seasons Change’ is a decent paced up-tempo rocker, before Atlas unleash their probably contracted ballad in ‘Signal Of Hope’ and falls on the right side of the tracks and not being too schmaltzy and wimpy. For ‘Letting Go’ the latter section moves along without any complaint, and Atlas finish on a seven minuter in ‘Live and Forget’. Again its keyboard heavy, but changes track in the mid section with some nice guitar work, almost jazzy before heading back to the chorus, and the guitar work cuts through the rest of the song to make it stand out.

I have to give a huge shout out to James Thorley and Cristoffer Borg, as the album sounds great. It’s a big move up sonically from the EP.
I have a measuring stick where top marks are to be compared with albums like ‘Back In Black’, ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Hysteria’ ‘Everybody’s Crazy’ and ‘Night Of The Crime. I see lots of 10s being banded around for albums that are very good. So, if the recent Airrace is an excellent 9, ‘In Pursuit Of Memory’ gets a very solid 8/10.
Review by Paul Chesworth
James Thorley – Keyboards, programming & percussion
John Moss – Lead Guitars
Howie Little – Lead Guitars
Chris Redfearn – Bass
Craig Wells – Vocals
Tracklisting –
Bad Habit
Breathe Me In
Flesh And Blood
As Time Goes By
In The Frame
Lock And Key
Seasons Change
Signal Of Hope
Letting Go
Live And Forget