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Brainstorm – Wall of Skulls Award winner

Wall of Skulls
by Justin Joseph at 07 October 2021, 11:20 PM

“The lone sell-sword who carries the steel upon his back, like the burden that is enough to crack the earthen floor, whose muscle bound body is that of an exterior shell while inside, the very essence that anchors him begins to wither away but the only thought that compels limbs to trudge on is the unconventional thought of finding solace upon the battlefield, so he endures the pain so that glory may be discovered and rediscovered from every man who falls by his sword.”

If you may be confused as towards what in the world you have just read regarding the introduction, well I am referring to BRAINSTORM’s recent album, “Wall of Skulls” and from my personal listening experience, there is one word to describe this album, MAJESTIC! Where the album can be compared to an elixir that revives a battle-worn soldier.

Overall, the album feels heroic in nature mixed with a fable element, as though it is a tale spoken and immortalized by many tongues of a noble warrior whose deeds proved virtuous. Songs such as, “Where Ravens Fly” and “Escape the Silence” fosters that imagery where a sliver of light can illuminate even through the times where despair may reign, this is conjured due to forces of the instrumental section, like warriors locked together in a shield wall where they are in tuned with one another’s tactics, so too does the musical aspect follow suit, as it is tightly woven together where the guitars and drums act synonymously producing a cohesive sound. For instance, ‘Stigmatized (Shadows Fall)’, the strings and percussive combo gives the vibe of an attack formation where the guitar takes lead with the melody and with the battle sounding drums taking heed with the riffs, even though the song in nature has a sombre tonality to it, the grooves and riffing concocted here is what gifts the album its adventurous spirit.

"My Dystopia" is another song which showcases the alliance of the percussive elements and the guitars, as this track possess a grandiose atmosphere as it fashions an illusion of a climactic battle where the drums exude the sound of a stampede of a thousand warriors with their soles crunching the earth while the guitars take the form of the spirit of war with the melodies that are crafted in different forms and patterns especially where the solos are concerned.

You the reader can probably predict the verdict of this album already, yes, it’s rather superb, but the crown which rests upon this body arrives in the form of the vocals, for it is like the wise mage who whispers into the warrior’s ear that brings vigour into bones that wants not to carry on with the journey. In other words, the vocals breathe a different air of life into the album, "Holding on", is another track which demonstrates the vocal prowess as it delves into a different direction, not in a bravado like register, but this time it takes a more somber approach but still retaining the melodic aspect, and this here is one of the qualities which I admire. Yes, the album is to its core a Power Metal album, but at the same type it possesses innumerable qualities that carves many paths in which the listener can choose how to interpret the different merits along this musical experience.

In the realm of Power Metal, it is easy to fall into the cavernous depths were you lay amongst a horde of other bands that speak the same tongue as you and even don similar skin, making it difficult to discern a unique identity, the same argument can be used for any genre in Metal. However, in “Wall of SkullsBRAINSTORM’s stamp upon the genre still manages to differentiate itself amongst the legion, where its sigil shows no sign of decay and its colors fade not with the hands of time. In conclusion, another valiant album has been forged once again, and I would definitely recommend this to all Power Metal fans, and also even newcomers to the realms of Metal, as even though it may be the newest within the band’s discography, it is still a testament to that showcases that there exist no cracks within this band’s armor.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Chamber Thirteen
2. Where Ravens Fly
3. Solitude
4. Escape the Silence
5. Turn Off the Light
6. Glory Disappears (Black from Grey)
7. My Dystopia
8. End of My Innocence
9. Stigmatized (Shadows Fall)
10. Holding On
11. I, the Deceiver
Dieter Bernert - Drums
Torsten Ihlenfeld - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Milan Loncaric - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Andy B. Franck - Vocals (lead)
Antonio Ieva - Bass
Record Label: AFM Records


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