|Review: Brainstorm - Unholy|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: August 17, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
German Power Metal veterans Brainstorm really started to shape their sound with Unholy, their 1998 sophomore effort, and even by today's standards, this is a bitch of a metal album. The band's last studio recording before ex-Ivanhoe vocalist Andy B Franck stepped behind the mic and took their career to the next level, Unholy saw the Germans go for the jugular in a way they haven't since, bringing their particularly thrashy brand of Euro Power Metal to such violent levels of aggression that at times they give stalwarts like Testament a run for their money.
Sounding like the nasty little brother of Gamma Ray's Land of the Free, Unholy is extremely indicative of the German Power Metal sound, with those massive backing choirs and speedy harmonized runs stamping their presence all over tracks like the shout-along "Here Comes The Pain", the catchy "Heart of Hate" and, one of the band's finest tracks, "The Healer", a blistering riff-fest that finds guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric thrashing up a wind-milling storm. Vocalist Marcus Jurgens spits his vocal venom like a rabid dog let off his leash, his wailing snarl shining as the highlight of the creepy "Voices"- one of the band's all time staples -and the catchy "For The Love of Money", which begins for some reason as Stratovarius' "Legions" before exploding into a mass of double-pedal abuse and one of the most infectious vocal lines the album has to offer. Production wise things are a little raw, but this doesn't stop the album from sounding as epic as it does. In fact, it gives the overall feel a multifaceted texture that really extends its longevity; I haven't been able to stop spinning this baby since I got it, and to be honest, when music is this good, why should I?
As essential as such modern Power Metal classics as Helloween's Better Than Raw, Angel Dust's Enlighten The Darkness, and the aforementioned Land of the Free from Gamma Ray, Unholy is an album that'll have you headbanging to every riff, singing to every word, and raising the horns from start to finish. As far as dark and evil Power Metal goes, this baby is the Devil himself. Convert or be damned.
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