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Brainstorm – Downburst

Label: Metal Blade Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

The number seven has a lot of special meaning behind it to a wide array of peoples and cultures. In religion you have the Seven Deadly Sins; in mythology you have the seven main islands of Atlantis, in astronomy you have seven stars in the constellation of the Big Dipper. Seven is also regarded to many as a lucky number. “Downburst” marks the seventh album from next generation German Heavy Metal masters Brainstorm. From the start of this album you can feel that there is something very special at hand and that number seven may very well be Brainstorms finest work yet. This may be a bold statement to many considering the magnitude of the past few albums including 2005’s “Liquid Monster”, 2003’s “Soul Temptation”, and 2001’s “Metus Mortis”. “Downburst” captures the magic that was unleashed on the above mentioned albums, adds to it and balls it all up into a ticking bomb ready to explode in the listeners face. Don’t believe me? Press play, I dare you!
“Falling Spiral Down” kicks off the album with such blazing sonic speed and adrenaline that when listening to it you cannot help but bang your head, break furniture, and possibly throw your cat into the nearest wall. As this song ends and you begin to get yourself in check, the albums first single “Fire Walk With Me” kicks in firing on all cylinders sending you into frenzy number two. It is songs like this that make Brainstorm such a great band. I can picture this song being played in an arena packed with every person on their feet, fists in the air singing along. Songs like this make me wonder why Brainstorm’s not bigger than they are. Will people stop listening to Atreyu and start paying attention to Brainstorm, PLEASE!

“Redemption In Your Eyes” has a great opening as it starts off sounding far away with static as if you just put the needle down on an old record player that hasn’t been used in decades. As you are trying to figure out what is going on and why it sounds like that the song jumps out of the speakers and grabs you by the throat with an awesome heavy opening. “End in Sorrow” is one of the slower tunes on the album. Depressive, you can feel the pain in Andy Francks voice throughout while some nice orchestral arrangements also help capture the mood. “How Do You Feel” is a very strong tune featuring everything you would expect in a metal song from great lyrics, to an awesome chorus, and a killer guitar solo. There is great build up following the guitar solo as Andy talks over pounding drums and keyboard leading you into the final chorus round. “Protect Me From Myself” may overall be the heaviest track on the album. When hearing the opening I can imagine a huge pit beginning to form which soon erupts like a tornado touching down in Kansas.

“Frozen” may be my favorite song on the album as it is very different from anything that I have heard Brainstorm do before. It starts off with a memorable riff and a grittier vocal from Andy which is very cool. Once the chorus hits the music takes a complete turn onto Children of Bodom boulevard with an awesome keyboard arrangement more slow and eerie sounding. Once verse two steps into the picture we are right back into the heavy metal onslaught that the song started off with. The guitar breakdown at 2:35 takes me right back to “Follow The Reaper” era Bodom. The trade offs of the two styles presented throughout this song is a winning formula and makes this song really stand out. This is a very nice curveball among the fastballs and changeups being fired from the mound past another batter into the catcher’s glove securing another victory for Brainstorm.
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