Brainstorm – Ambiguity
Following the mega-cool Unholy, Brainstorm unleashed their third full-length effort Ambiguity; their first of which to feature the mighty Andy B. Franck helming. I guess we’ll start with the vocals first. I’m sure by now you know I loved Marcus (and still do), however I also happen to love Andy too. I always felt Andy was better suited to Brainstorm than he was with Symphorce, and I have to admit he’s perfect for the band. Mention Brainstorm to anyone in the know and Andy will be one of the first points of conversation, and rightfully so, as he fits the band like a glove and is a brilliant front-man with his charismatic Halford-styled vocal approach.
As far as the music goes, this is a notch beneath Unholy in terms of aggression, furthering the bands power metal approach. There’s a slight 80’s vibe going on as well, which has always been present but comes a little further into the foreground this time around. Production is clear and vibrant, though still maintaining the bite essential to the bands sound in the guitars.
As far as the actual songs are concerned, I’d say this is one of the few Brainstorm albums that I struggle to recall individual tracks from. The album is of a consistently good quality, but they don’t go up and above. Far from the blazing brilliance of Unholy, which had an almost highlight after highlight approach, Ambiguity tends to plod along slightly, and as a result I rarely reach for this album when craving a Brainstorm fix.
Tracks such as “Tear Down The Walls”, “Coming Closer” and “Lost Unseen” show Brainstorm firing on all cylinders, doing exactly what they do best. The awesome guitar work, headbanging riffs, blazing drum work, and majestic vocal lines – killer stuff! There’s a particularly insane guitar part in “Lost Unseen” towards the end of the song, I’ve heard nothing like it, but it shows just how creative Milan and Torsten can be. However, in and around these killing tracks are fillers that really detract from the overall quality of the album. “Beyond My Destiny” is far too bloated and bites off more than it can chew, “Arena” should be good but doesn’t quite cut it, and “Far Away” is an overlong, boring ballad.
So all in all, whilst there are some killing parts, especially the last few songs, there is undeniably a plodding quality to the album that sadly hurts Ambiguity. Still, it was a good introduction to Andy B. Frank, although I don’t think this is the album for anyone new to the band to start off with!
Chris’ rating 3.5 out of 5