Brainstorm – Downburst
At this point in Brainstorm’s career, the band was in serious need of an all encompassing, face-melting release. Downburst was just such a thing, and right off the mark, I would say this would be a good starting point for new fans, along with Metus Mortis or Soul Temptation. Whilst I have a soft spot for the last album, I’m willing to admit that it could have been better. Judging by a lot of the reviews I’ve read for Liquid Monster over the years it seems most people found the album to be uneven. After that release, Brainstorm took three years before unveiling their seventh full-length, and it shows. Downburst is focused, and offers just about everything anyone could want from a Brainstorm album (this side of Unholy: Part II).
The songs are all very well conceived: suitably catchy with good hooks and great choruses. The riffs are equal parts melodic catchy and skull-splitting bad-ass, and performances across the board are great. When I first heard this, I instantly placed both my thumbs in an upwards orientation, and each time I’ve listened since; both those thumbs go back up. I thought Brainstorm was surely going to continue along this line, as Downburst received some very favourable attention from their fans and the press, but that’s a tale for another day.
The cover and content of Downburst suit the album’s pugilistic feel very well, and the album infuses this punchy style with glossy melodic sensibilities which spell “win” on so many levels. Andy sounds great here, although his higher register has been slightly dulled compared to the last two albums, which is a slight of a shame. There’s little need to mention standout tracks, as the album runs its course at a constant great quality. Every last track is very good, so much so that I’m sure many would argue this being the first Brainstorm album to feature zero filler (although I would have to say Metus Mortis had this distinction).
All in all, and as I said in opening: this album is definitely one for fans new to the band. Downburst shows Brainstorm in fine form, and it has a very worthy place in the collection of any power metal aficionado.
Chris’ rating 4.25 out of 5