A lot of things have changed in metal since 1989, the year in which Brainstorm's original lineup came together. Alternative metal became much more prominent, death metal and black metal became more and more plentiful (especially in Scandinavia), goth metal gained an enthusiastic cult following, and metalcore took the metal/punk union in an increasingly vicious direction. But none of those developments have had a major stylistic impact on Brainstorm, who were a melodic power metal band when they started out in 1989 and continued to be a melodic power metal band 20 years later on Memorial Roots. The German headbangers make no effort to change with the times on this 2009 release; obviously, they reason that if it isn't broke, why do they need to fix it? And no, it isn't broke. Memorial Roots is a tad predictable -- at least if one has been following Brainstorm for a long time -- and you won't find a lot of surprises on "Cross the Line," "Ahimsa," or any of the other tracks. Brainstorm maintain their allegiance to the old-school power metal of the '70s and '80s, which is probably just as well because even though Memorial Roots doesn't take a lot of chances, the material is enjoyable nonetheless. Besides, if jazz, the blues, salsa, folk, bluegrass, reggae, and Celtic music can have their classicists -- that is, those who adamantly cling to the styles of a previous era -- there is no reason at all why metal shouldn't have them as well. Memorial Roots isn't an essential listen, but it's definitely a worthwhile listen for power metal diehards who haven't lost interest in Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, or Fates Warning's pre-'90s recordings and probably never will.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson