Brainstorm - On The Spur Of The Moment
German power metallers Brainstorm (not to be confused with the dozen or more bands who also go by that name) have been plying their trade for over 20 years now, maintaining relative anonymity despite a series of strong releases over the years. Their latest, On The Spur Of The Moment, comes as their sophomore release under the AFM Records banner. Within, we find a band at the top of their game, with 10 tracks of traditionally written, epic and classy anthems.
Metal journeyman Andy B. Franck heads the attack as intro "Below The Line" crests on the waves of Franck's powerful and melodic vocal melodies, rising in force over a potent chorus. "In The Blink Of An Eye" reveals a more unpolished and raw Brainstorm, driving forward behind a solid rhythm section and chugging riffs. What inevitably makes this brand of metal ultimately bland and uninspiring to me, in most cases, is the exact nature of it being classically motivated. In essence, you've heard it all before unless any given band forces itself outside the box. While Brainstorm neglects the typical symphonic and over-pompous elements many of their power metal brethren implement, they also leave room for such things in their generic assault. Granted, each of these 10 tracks (in particular, the excellent Temple Of Stone, No Saint-No Sinner, and A Life On Hold) are perfectly fine in and of themselves. However, my personal tastes leave me only partially satisfied, somehow expecting more from a band with a long history and obvious staying power.
And that is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. That a band like Brainstorm has managed to stay afloat for so long doesn't exactly surprise me, but On The Spur Of The Moment doesn't either. It is as one would expect, and that is both a blessing and a curse. Fans of traditional heavy metal with a leaning towards the more bombastic and enlarged power metal elements will certainly find a record worthy of owning here. For the rest of us, there's a foundation to appreciate but very little built atop of it to impress.
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