Ivanhoe

Brainstorm – Firesoul Review

Brainstorm – Firesoul Review

“Ever since hearing the Ivanhoe albums way back in the late 90s, I’ve been a huge fan of Andy B. Franck’s vocals. He has pipes that could only be destined for a life fronting a metal band, though he possesses the range to do virtually any kind of music. His slightly proggy, but hyper-accessible albums with Symphorce are always in rotation at Casa de la Druhm, as are his many releases with traditional metal act Brainstorm. The latter are especially tasty, blending Judas Priest‘s Painkiller era with the punch and crunch of American power metal like Iced Earth and Pantera, then layering in a plethora of earwormy vocal hooks and monumental, anthemic choruses that cannot be forgotten. Albums like Mentus Mortis, Soul Temptation and Liquid Monster are nearly perfect examples of pure heavy metal and whenever I spin them for someone unacquainted, they wonder how they could have missed the boat.” Intrigued yet?

Symphorce – Unrestricted Review

Symphorce – Unrestricted Review

Ah, another release from metal vocal monster Andy B. Franck’s “other” band Symphorce. While most in the metal world are familiar with his work with Brainstorm, Symphorce is his more “cult” band where he explores musical styles and moods that wouldn’t fit with the straight ahead metal style of his primary outfit. Over the years Symphorce has released some albums that were actually superior to those of Brainstorm and I often wondered why they weren’t better known, especially since Mr. Franck is one of the better vocalists in metal today. Generally Symphorce hasn’t strayed too far from the style Brainstorm employs but they have tended to toss in more prog elements and try more diverse sounds (but much less so than his original band Ivanhoe). That pattern continues here on their seventh album Unrestricted. However, this is a slight step back in quality from previous Symphorce albums and feels a little rushed and incomplete. Fortunately, the shortcomings in songwriting are at least partially overcome by the vocal efforts of Mr. Franck.