Brainstorm - Liquid Monster
Brainstorm have always been a bit tricky to categorize. Is it heavy metal, thrash metal or simply just metal? I have lately settled with the latter since their music contain plenty of the first mentioned but the result in the end feels just - metal. I have liked them over their career with the exception of the last album which I found boring, and their previous albums spin at home here every now and them but up til now seldom with an extensive enthusiasm. There has always been something that have held back my dedicated attention and that has been the reason to why I before have felt that nothing really have been standing out in Brainstorms music. However, this album shows a development in the right direction.
It starts heavy with a few strong songs in a row that contains good and melodic riffing in a familiar Brainstorm style. Right from the start it feels fresher and more interesting then before and it now sounds more like real songs compared to before. The reason is that they are a bit simpler and more straight on, while the previous songs have contained too much of everything and are too messy.
After that we get an uptempo song in form of Lifeline, then another midtempo one and after that unfortunatly an extremely superfluous semi ballad. The heavy riffing at the end and the vocal effort that resembles a young Bruce Dickinson can not save it. It continues with another midtempo tune followed by something that starts like something Testament could have written and has a catchy approach. They round it off with great riffing in an uptempo bit which is flanked by two mid tempo songs following the recipie which started up the whole album. A lot more midtempo then I normally would enjoy, but this time it actually works fine.
The downside of Brainstorm is that it sometimes tend to sound too monotone with a similar structure on the pumping riffs and the sound picture in general in the songs. There are on this album still moments where that makes itself apperant. They are not so 'german' as other german bands in the sense that the tempo is a bit slower than the average german band, and the songs sometimes do not seem to get anywhere but instead get stuck sometimes halfways and are dragging themselves to the end in a grinding style. I also can't help notice that a few refrains on this album sometime sound a bit too familiar to each other.
Most songs hold a steady and average level, but a few songs stand out by being more thrashy or more uptempo then the others and those are very welcome bits on the album, because otherwise it could have been a bit of a tiring mess again. Those songs are my pick for this album, since I think that is when they are showing them from the best side.
Despite the aformentioned downsides this feels fresher than before to me, and the cause of that is spelled more melodic, more solid and confident songwriting and simplicity. Still not a smashing album in my eyes, but if it continues in this direction the future looks very bright for Brainstorm.