Sound — 10
Power metal doesn't get any heavier than Brainstorm, and on "Metus Mortis" the band offers their most thrash-oriented and aggressive album to date. The ferocity of the guitars and the intensity of the drumming makes Brainstorm stand out from any other power metal band, and when you combine this with Andy's outstanding vocals and well written lyrics, you get something really great.
The band found their "power thrash" sound on the previous album, "Ambiguity," which was a great record, but did have some flaws. On "Metus Mortis," all those flaws are gone and the only thing that brings it down is that the 2 following albums are even better. The bands sound on this album is extremely heavy, while still retaining that melodic side. Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric's guitar work on songs like "Shadowland" and "Behind" is about as heavy as it gets, and songs like "Checkmate in Red" and many others have oriental sounding riffs, solos and additional instruments. I'm glad that they've kept the symphonic elements intact to this day, cause it definitely adds an extra dimension to their music. When it comes to Dieter Bernert's drumming, it's ALL about force. Thrash-like double bass sections and fast passages are mixed with everything else you would expect from thrash or power metal album.
The 1 min. intro neither adds nor takes anything away from the album, and then hits straight into the opening drumfill of the first song, "Blind Suffering," which is just like on every 'BS' record, one of the best songs on the album. The 3 following tracks are also very strong, but the album is great from start to finish. The mid-paced and more mellow songs "Under Lights" and "Weakness Sows It's Seed" adds a welcome brake from all the heaviness.
Lyrics — 9
Andy is one of the finest power metal vocalists out there, and his performance on this album is no exception. He's got a very strong tone in his voice, which most power metal singers lack. He also sings with a much more varied combination of high, mid and low. He writes all the bands lyrics and even some music. The first line of the first song ("Looking back I smile at the voices in my head") gives me chills every time, fantastic verses on that song. The choruses are catchy and sing-a-long friendly without being cliché, my favorites being from the songs "Blind Suffering," "Checkmate in Red", "Cycles" and "Hollow Hideaway."
Overall Impression — 9
"Metus Mortis" is one of the best power metal albums you can listen to, and definitely one of the best albums of 2001. It doesn't reach the levels of Opeth's "Blackwater Park" and Tool's "Lateralus," but just like on those albums when the last song ends, you feel like listening to the album again. Tracks 2-5 and 7-10 are all classic Brainstorm songs, with my favorites being, "Shadowland," "Hollow Hideaway," "Blind Suffering," "Checkmate in Red" and "Into the Never." The production is great and Andreas Mailander's bass is heavy. The only flaw I can find is that "Weakness Sows it's Seed" and "Meet Me in the Dark" are not as strong as the rest of the songs on the disc. I rank this album at nr. 3 (out of 10) in their discography.