Brainstorm is a German Power Metal band that by now is already a veteran, and has managed to maintain a respectable discography in its more than 30-year career, which reaches its 13th album with the release of this "Wall Of Skulls". The album was recorded at the Green Man Studios under the production of Seeb Levermann who is the vocalist and guitarist of the band Orden Ogan and who also participates in one of the songs on the album, the other collaboration was done by Peavy from Rage in one of the most powerful songs on the album. In total, they have 10 songs in no more than 40 minutes which tells us that they go straight to the point and without extending more than necessary. As expected, they bet on a Power Metal that clearly drinks from classic influences but with a sound, according to these times, where they sound powerful, direct and with a lot of hook, courtesy of the voice of Andy B. Franck. Without a doubt, this album is a must for Power Metal lovers, it has everything, great choirs, excellent guitars, epic keyboards and a devastating rhythmic base, in addition to showing that as long as there is inspiration the style can continue to move us as in its best times. And due to the release of this great album, we were able to interview Torsten Ihlenfeld, guitarist and founder of the band, who tells us about the album and the plans of the German band.

Lea la entrevista en inglés en: Entrevista con Brainstorm

DARGEDIK: Welcome to Dargedik Webzine from Latin America. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions Torsten! First of all, how have you been? How is the band after more than a year with this pandemic situation?

BRAINSTORM: The band is doing great. Thanks for asking.Of course, we re all missing live shows, open-air festivals, club shows, tours. Most of all, we miss the fans, the face-to-face contact, the talks, the reactions, the interaction but overall, we are doing fine. We ended the album-tour-festival-tour cycle for “Midnight Ghost” at the end of 2019, so things could have been a lot worse than things for sure are for most of us since the beginning of the pandemic.

DARGEDIK: You are releasing “Wall of Skulls” on September 17th. When did you begin with the process of composition and recording of this album? Did the pandemic change much the way you worked on this album?

BRAINSTORM: Well actually, we are always writing something but the real process starts after the end of the touring period for the last album, which luckily was shortly before Covid started. Due to this fact, we walked some extra miles during the songwriting process, as due to Covid all planned live shows and releases have been postponed anyway. Especially Andy did - at some point – almost start all over again with vocal lines and lyrics because he was not 100% satisfied with how it was at that moment. 

So we have been able to write very detailed, without including too many parts or getting too progressive and complicated though - but very focused on each song instead which definitely is something you can hear on each song on Wall Of Skulls. 100% focus was songwriting, rehearsing, recording, producing without getting interrupted by live shows or tours or the usual nights out with friends because everything was in a lockdown.

DARGEDIK: What differences can we find on this new record “Wall of Skulls” in comparison with the previous “Midnight Ghost?

BRAINSTORM: Wall Of Skulls is definitely not Midnight Ghost Part 2 but definitely breathes the same air and spirit. We raised the level with Midnight Ghost and we can raise it even more with Wall Of Skulls. We focused on our songwriting skills, focused on the songs, focused totally on the band to make Wall Of Skulls the best Brainstorm album to date. The songs are even more focused, more to the point with an unbelievable energy on one hand, on the other hand with filled so much dedication, passion and emotions that we enjoy every single song on Wall of Skulls absolutely to the maximum. From fast tracks to heavy mid tempo songs to even epic hymns, the album has it all.    

DARGEDIK: In the song “Escape the silence” we can listen to Peavy Wagner. How did you decide to invite him to collaborate on this song? How was the experience of working with him? 

BRAINSTORM: When we wrote "Escape The Silence", especially the mid part where Peavy sings, we felt this has to be done by him. I guess we even heard his voice and how it will sound like even before we asked him. Peavy is an absolute pro, a real metal legend and it is a great honor to have him as guest on Escape The Silence.

DARGEDIK: The singles that you released until now sound great! After more than 30 years as a band. What is the key to preserve such an energetic sound?                                                              

BRAINSTORM: Because we love what we are doing. We love making music, creating music, make music together and we are absolutely thankful that we can be doing this for such a long time now and we are still going strong. No end in sight and it feels great with every new song we can create.

DARGEDIK: I really like the album cover. What can you tell us about it? By the way, why did you pick up "Wall of Skulls" as the name for the album? 

BRAINSTORM: The album is very much about the cruelties of mankind in the history of mankind and what fits better than skulls. Behind every skull there is a story of a once human being, his adventures, his pain, his pleasure, his wars, his life, his dark secrets. We are telling the stories thereto on Wall Of Skulls.

DARGEDIK: What are your plans after releasing the album? Are there chances for touring again? What is your opinion about streaming shows since many bands can not go on a tour now? 

BRAINSTORM: Yes, we have a tour planned for September, October and November all over Europe and we are still optimistic that this can happen. Fingers crossed! 

We also did a very cool streaming show for our fans earlier this year which was streamed worldwide with an amazing feedback from our fans and we even included this show as bonus DVD on the limited edition of Wall OF Skulls.

DARGEDIK: How do you see the Metal Scene nowadays? How is the situation for Metal Bands in your country now because of the pandemic? Do you have time to listen to new bands? 

BRAINSTORM: Yes, I always listen to music, discover new music, new bands. Great to see that there is so much incredible talent out there. Of course, the pandemic situation is difficult for all bands but we can either do nothing but complaining or try to make the best out of the situation. Create new music, work on your musician skills and so on.

DARGEDIK: For young people that are discovering Metal, if they are going to listen to Brainstorm for the first time, Which album would you recommend to them? 

BRAINSTORM: Our amazing best of double CD “Just highs, no lows” because you have 12 years of Brainstorm on there AND both Midnight Ghost/ Wall Of Skulls, which represents the band in absolute top form! 

DARGEDIK: In more than 30 years as a band you have seen a lot of changes in the Metal scene. For example nowadays you can record an album without going to an studio, people can find a lot of music and bands in streaming services or bands can be supported by fans through platforms like Patreon. In your opinion, Is it more difficult or easier to have a band nowadays? 

BRAINSTORM: I think the bottom line still is the same: Be patient, you do not become a good musician and a good songwriter overnight. Take your time, make your experiences, get to know how to play live, stay true to yourself, do it your way but hear what experienced colleagues have to say, do not make avoidable mistakes just for the sake of maybe getting a shitty record deal, don’t sell your soul. The right offer comes to the right time and until then, rehearse, learn your lessons and enjoy making music. What a great gift for those who discover this!   

DARGEDIK: As part of Brainstorm you had the chance to tour with many bands in all these years. Is there any band that you would like to tour with but you haven't yet? Or any musician that you would like to work with? 

BRAINSTORM: That’s so many and there really have been so many dreams come true already but imagine a band with Freddy and Lemmy on vocals, Dimebag Darrel and Chris Oliva on guitars, Phil Lynott and Cliff Burton on bass and Mozart and Beethoven on piano and orchestra – One hell of a band making heavenly music!

DARGEDIK: Before we finish, Can you send a message to all your fans in Latin America? Have you had the chance to listen to some Metal bands from this part of the world? 

BRAINSTORM: Thanks to the digital plattforms you can nowadays listen to metal and music in general from all over the world. As much as it is boon and bane, both a blessing and a curse, this is something really good about nowadays. You can discover new music from all over the planet.

To our fans in Latin America, thank you all so much for all your support over the years. Someday hopefully we will be returing to Latin America when all this pandemic Covid restrictions are behind us and we are all free again to enjoy doing what we love most. Celebrating music together with all our fans on real live shows for real people. Stay strong, stay healthy, and until we meet again – the sooner, the better!!!

DARGEDIK: Again, thanks a lot for your time Torsten. Congratulations on the new album. All the best to Brainstorm! 

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