It often feels like power metal genre is the genre that has evolved least since its heyday in the 80’s. Sure, the likes of Ghost are taking the music and the whole concept in distinctive direction, but in general it seems like power metal is for the most part happy doing what it has always done. Unfortunately, this often results in releases that lack excitement and come across as carbon copies of each other.
But there are bands out there who create something exciting and good without really changing the formula. Eldritch have managed to create unique atmosphere to their music event thou the ingredients are very familiar. Powerwolf manages to get away with turning on the power metal buttons too much, event thou most of other fail when they try doing the same. Brainstorm manages to create something distinctive with power metal as well. They never brake out of the rules of power metal, but with each release they create interesting albums. One of the key ingredients that make Brainstorm stand out are the melodies. The always solid music and musicianship shouldn’t be overlooked, but it’s the song writing based around cleverly written, arranged and nonetheless delivered melodies that lift this band to the next level.
Midnight Ghost continues the tradition, but in somewhat less convincing manner. Album opens solidly, but it’s couple of songs in that the band seriously starts delivering that which makes them stand out in the hordes. “Ravenous Minds” balances eminently between extremely catchy and soul-scarring, “The Pyre” does the same while picking up the pace and the epic centerpiece “Jeanne Boulet (1764)” is the highlight of the album. It’s grand, but never pompous. It’s a song that evolves constantly throughout it’s nearly 8-minute running time. Despite numerous changes the song keeps the flow locked in to the utter perfection.
Not all the songs keep the high song-writing level so there are some drops in the flow of the album in general and the album closes with one of the weakest ballads of the band’s career.
Still Midnight Ghost is another very good record, by a band that has mastered pressing the maximum out of what they’ve chose to work with. A good example of this very statement is the “Ooh-ooh” chorus on “The Four Blessings”, where the band achieves so much more from the simple chorus by just adding small varieties to the main melody. Andy B. Franck performance plays a big part as well, not just from the technical aspect, but just as much from ability to deliver emotional and convincing vocals.
New album from Brainstorm is always a joyful occasion for often fuzzy power metal genre and hopefully they’ll keep going for many years to come.