Brainstorm – On The Spur Of The Moment

October 12, 2011 in Reviews by Arno Callens

On The Spur Of The Moment

If there is one band reliable to deliver an ass-kicking every two years, it’s Brainstorm. Consistently they put out one corker after another, and while they may never reach the wider audience they deserve, that won’t stop us in the know of enjoying their exploits album after album. With “Memorial Roots” the band went for a more epic sound, downplaying the heavy guitars in favor of some light keyboards and orchestration. There was some backlash for their heinousness and they must have complied to the wishes of the mob (with persuasive arguments such as torches and pitchforks), because this one doesn’t completely abandon their innovative directive, but it puts the boot firmly back in the buttocks of everyone weeping over “too much emotion”. A stylistic choice probably made after an intensive BRAINSTORM session. Get it? Want to kill me? Fair enough.

Maybe it’s a little bit of a shame though that “On The Spur Of The Moment” turns out to be a lot more straightforward than “Memorial Roots”, because I for one liked the experimentation and there are only small traces left of it here. One is “Below The Line” with its slow and mesmerizing refrain, and one of the more complicated tracks on offer. Second is the pounding “In These Walls”, for which a video was shot, where a delicate piano adds an emotional touch to the irresistible chorus melody. But enough about feelings, cuddling teddy bears and such, let’s move on to METAL. “Temple Of Stone” was already introduced in the live environment this summer and it works very well on record as well, breaking up some of the more touchy stuff with its intense grooves and simplistic but memorable chorus. “Still Insane” pretty much describes itself and is one of the standout tracks, with another unforgettable refrain and Andy B. Franck going a little bit more nuts than usual. Seriously, this guy should let his hair down more, we might be in for a treat.

A hint of the epic scale of the predecessor can also be found in “No Saint – No Sinner” and “Life On Hold”, but it’s achieved through harmonized guitars instead of fluffy keyboard work , so don’t worry. Especially the former is an interesting track, and another chance for Franck to shine. I don’t remember a lot of Brainstorm-albums closing in style, and this is no exception, but the band has earned its stripes so far, so let’s not nitpick. Of the two bonus tracks “The Heartless Spawn Of Seed” is worth checking out, if only for its bitching title. So there you have it: another Brainstorm, another triumph. Never major league, but never minor achievement; consistent and solid that’s who they are. I apologize in advance for this next clever pun, but fans of the band should go get this on the spur of the moment!

Arno Callens’ rating: 3.75 out of 5