In the potent gathering of Teutonic power metal, Brainstorm have modestly existed in the shadows behind the heavyweights of the genre as unsung heroes. After more than 20 years active the German five-piece are onto album number nine with this release, and whilst their atypically darker punch of power metal has rare bursts of outstanding collective work that suggest they should be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Helloween and Gamma Ray – they’re unfortunately patchy on the whole.
Below The Line starts promisingly and falls into melancholic chorus to push the album forward in reserved motion. As its title would suggest, In The Blink Of An Eye gives us something rolling at a faster pace, but it’s the choppy, untimely guitar chugs that undermine the impact of the song. If you’re open minded enough when it comes to the countless attempts of hard rock surfacing in this style of music nowadays, then Temple Of Shadows will impress you in its vibrato of bumpy, distorted riffs.
There’s a few efforts on record that make for frustrating digestion given the fact they’re a much finer expansion of the band’s true potential. First one is single hit In These Walls – mustering a collision of tinkling keyboard piano, blankets of melodious harmonising and simple but effective, heavy-as-lead chug-riffola. The dark, Helloween-esque chorus of Life On Hold is particularly impressive, but it’s final track My Own Hell that is crafted with the ambition of being an epic, drawing the curtain with results.
Brainstorm have the experience and the songs that confirm them as a force in European power metal. Whether On The Spur Of The Moment will take them much further is debatable. If it’s taken 20-years to get this far, you just wonder where they’ll go from here.