On the Spur of the Moment
3/1/2012 - Review by: Eric Compton
I think too much too often is not a good thing. Case in point being record number nine in a fifteen year career for Brainstorm. Germany's higher tiered power thrash act have pushed out over a hundred songs, all fairly cohesive and uniform in their branding of melodic metal. I think that is way too many songs, too many riffs and too many albums at this point. It would be different if the band was a Dark Tranquility or an Opeth type of act that have refined their sound, modified it through the years to be more innovative and inspiring. Nevertheless "On The Spur Of The Moment" (aptly titled) finds the band back at it, this time around married to new label AFM Records.
The guys chose little known producer in Axel Heckert and his Studio 22. I really wish they had the budget/backing to try something experimental with the sound. The band do branch out some with the effective modern scope of "Temple Of Stone". I love the moshy Cathedral meets Paradise Lost riff and the chorus is an addictive sing along. The Paradise Lost styled keys are a nice touch on opener "Below The Line", complete with the band's signature layered vocals and subtle Goth touches. "In These Walls" uses the effective keyboards again, moving along to a fairly up-tempo melodic number punctuated by those big chorus bits that make Brainstorm enjoyable. "Still Insane" does the same sort of formula with a catchy Dokken styled guitar riff.
The fault lies in the fact that half the record is just downright boring. Songs like "Dark Life" and "Where Your Actions Lead You" just plod along with the casual double bass, washing machine riffs and Franck's "wasted" strong vocals. Mix this with really ineffective tracks like "A Life On Hold" and "My Own Hell" and the fact that the band really doesn’t push the envelope for record number nine…well it just leaves me wanting more out of this group. I think the major issue here is just failure to move beyond standard Brainstorm--vintage power thrash, quick melodic riffs, double bass, harmonized chorus...I mean it is literally cut and paste on each record. The problem could be within--the trio of Benert, Ihlenfeld, Lon Caric have been together since 1989. Franck has been with the group since ’99 and the only variable has just been at bass. It is unfair to compare to Maiden, but the great thing about those English legends is they constantly evolve. Brainstorm unfortunately doesn’t.
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