Brainstorm - Downburst
MetalBlade Records
Power Metal
12 songs (43'28)
Release year: 2008
Brainstorm, MetalBlade Records
Reviewed by Crims

Germany’s Brainstorm has returned after the excellent Liquid Monster which I still listen to on a regular basis. I suppose I had high expectations of Downburst since both Liquid Monster and its predecessor, Soul Temptation, are held in such high regard by some (maybe just me). Has Brainstorm delivered again? Read on.

I don’t think anyone expects Brainstorm to change their sound. They have hit on a quality formula of riff heavy German Power Metal in the vein of Grave Digger, and most of Rage’s catalogue, with strong, melodic (but not poppy) choruses that are subtly dark in their execution at times while upbeat at others. Not too mention a strong degree of variety and prominent, but never overused symphonic elements in the form of string orchestrations to emphasize melodies and add atmosphere to the slow to mid-paced work. Brainstorm has essentially done all of this again. You have the fast, up-tempo double bass tracks (Falling Spiral Down, Redemption In Your Eyes) and as usual the band is superb with these. Despite having songs like this on every release these tracks still managed to sound fresh and I think it has more to do with the excellent vocals rather than the riffs. The verses, pre-choruses, and choruses are highly entertaining and just seemed to be placed perfectly. Above all else, they’re memorable and catchy without sounding cheesy and poppy. Brainstorm’s forte has always been their up-tempo mid-paced and slightly more intricate songs (from melody and atmosphere stand points) and this release is no different. A further emphasis on the string compositions is evident and gave off a Kamelot vibe at times, along with some “soft” vocals sections which were reminiscent of Grave Digger (when they do the same thing). The only thing overly new I would say is a bit of a Melodic/AOR Metal vibe such as on >Fire Walk With Me on the chorus. Also, the leads seemed to have improved somewhat as they seem to be more explosive and "ripping" than on previous work.

I said in my Liquid Monster review that what Brainstorm do they do very well. Though you occasionally hear similarities to other bands in the style, the combination of distinct vocals, varied riffs, and seamless keyboard work, has made for only one band that sounds like Brainstorm as a whole (and umm, that’s Brainstorm). Some might argue which is the superior release in their catalogue (some like the less intricate early work while others feel Soul Temptation is the pinnacle of the Brainstorm melody and riffage engine). If having to make a choice I would still probably pick Liquid Monster as my favorite of the three but there is no shortage of classic Brainstorm material on here. Some might argue that they have sort of just re-hashed the previous material but I re-listened to both Liquid Monster and Soul Temptation before doing this review and while stylistically they are of course very similar there was no evidence of riff or melody repetition and why change something when it works so well?

Highly recommended to fans of the band as Brainstorm have done everything on here that made you like the band in the first place, and they managed to throw in some minor AOR and Hard Rock influences to a handful of riffs and vocal melodies.

Killing Songs :
Falling Spiral Down, Redemption In Your Eyes, End In Sorrow, Frozen, All Alone
Crims quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Brainstorm that we have reviewed:
Brainstorm - Midnight Ghost reviewed by Alex and quoted 76 / 100
Brainstorm - Firesoul reviewed by Jared and quoted 89 / 100
Brainstorm - On the Spur of the Moment reviewed by Cory and quoted 88 / 100
Brainstorm - Liquid Monster reviewed by Crims and quoted 87 / 100
Brainstorm - Soul Tempation reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 /100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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