Brainstorm - On the Spur of the Moment
AFM Records
German Power Metal
10 songs (45:33)
Release year: 2011
Brainstorm, AFM Records
Reviewed by Cory

Germany is to Power Metal what McDonald’s is to fast food; a factory of that pumps out addictive "hamburgers" by the dozen, and damn if they don’t get stuck on you regardless of how many times you have heard the formula before. Axxis stands at the pinnacle of the particular brand of German Power Metal in question here (not to be confused with the Blind Guardian or Helloween crowd), but for the past decade Brainstorm has been steadily chipping away at their lead with solid release after solid release, finally making a strong statement with 2008’s Downburst. While sticking to the tried and true formula of their past, Downburst capitalized on all of the potential shown in past albums while leaving the filler that plagued those albums behind. Unfortunately, 2009’s Memorial Roots went unnoticed by me and so I listened to the new album On the Spur of the Moment without any knowledge of what musical ground was covered on that release. I expected the catchy choruses, the strong song structures, the always great vocals of Andy B. Franck, but what I didn’t see coming was the musical growth the band has hit with this album.

First off, this isn’t your run of the mill Brainstorm album. In the past, you could pretty much interchange one album with another and not miss a beat. Here, beginning with moody opener Below the Line, there is a sense of changing up the status quo. Rather than launching into an up tempo number like Falling Spiral Down or Worlds are Coming Through, we get a medium paced track that works to build atmosphere through acoustic before rocking into a strong chorus that makes you take notice. At first this song turned me off because it didn’t deliver that immediate gratification I was expecting, but over time it opened up to me and I came to appreciate the different feel it brought to the table. In the Blink of an Eye puts us back in familiar waters, with a strong riff that works its way into your skull and stays put. Temple of Stone, on the other hand, puts us right back into the unknown. A crunchy tune that loses the guitar wankery in favor of a more hard rock approach, once again I am impressed with the variety these guys are putting out, which helps hold my interest where in past albums it might have been wandering a bit. Following tracks largely follow this pattern, trading off the traditional Brainstorm tunes for this more experimental breed with mostly successful results. Sure there are some misses, like In These Walls and closer My Own Hell, but nothing that completely fails. Other highlights include Still Insane, No Saint-No Sinner, and my favorite track Life on Hold.

Downburst still has my money as this bands finest hour, but On the Spur of the Moment is a damn good album in its own right. I think it shows room for exploration in Brainstorm’s future, which bodes well for their longevity, and I certainly will not overlook the next one.

Killing Songs :
Below the Line, Temple of Stone, No Saint-No Sinner, and Life on Hold
Cory quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Brainstorm that we have reviewed:
Brainstorm - Firesoul reviewed by Jared and quoted 89 / 100
Brainstorm - Downburst reviewed by Crims and quoted 86 / 100
Brainstorm - Liquid Monster reviewed by Crims and quoted 87 / 100
Brainstorm - Soul Tempation reviewed by Danny and quoted 93 /100
Brainstorm - Metus Mortis reviewed by Danny and quoted 94 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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