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Brainstorm - "Downburst" (CD)

Brainstorm - "Downburst" CD cover image

"Downburst" track listing:

1. Falling Spiral Down
2. Fire Walk With Me
3. Stained With Sin
4. Redemption In Your Eyes
5. End In Sorrow
6. How Do You Feel
7. Protect Me From Myself
8. Surrounding Walls
9. Frozen
10. All Alone

Reviewed by on July 9, 2008

"It's hard, it's fast, it's epic, it's everything a lover of 'classic' metal could want."

Metal is a style of music with more sub-genres in it than anyone can count, and more seem to be made up each passing day. So it's always a refreshing treat when a band releases an album demonstrating what was so great about "classic" heavy metal. Brainstorm's "Downburst" is one of those albums.

The album opens with the exciting "Falling Spiral Down," which contains a brief intro featuring a machine starting up and the gears becoming faster and faster. These effects lead brilliantly into the music itself, which is so explosive it makes you look outside for a mushroom cloud. "Falling Spiral Down," is a fantastic demonstration of why people love metal. The solos could melt the polar ice caps, the drums pound so hard you're brain can't keep up with them, and the vocals are some of the best you will hear in music - not just metal. Newcomers to the band, such as myself, may draw links between singer Andy Franck and other metal singers such as Bruce Dickinson and somewhat less to Rob Halford, but the similarity that stuck out for me personally was that between Franck and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho. The song features some cool breakdowns, which are utilized properly and thus don't ruin the song. "Falling Spiral Down," is one of the best opening songs on a metal album I've heard in a while.

While "Falling Spiral Down" is one of the best opening tracks on a metal album, the following song, "Fire Walk With Me," is one of the most fun. It follows strongly in the vein of the heavy metal being released in the 1980's but manages to sound slick and modern. The chourus is damningly catchy and you can't help but smile whenever it kicks in. This song is like an adrenaline shot on a CD, so Lord knows how exciting it must be live.

Containing clean vocals all the way through it, the album is a breath of fresh air for those who are becoming bored with the increasing death metal influence on the current metal scene. The album brings back the excitement that hasn't been felt since you bought your first Judas Priest album. It does contain plenty of variety as well, which of course is the spice of life and music. Brainstorm demonstrates some thrash styles on certain tracks, as well as power metal vocals and lush melodies. Each one of the songs is relatively short, clocking in at under five minutes. If you're like me and you don't like songs to drag on or feel that it overstays its welcome if it's too long, then you'll like this aspect of "Downburst."

The albums closing track, "All Alone," is like "Falling Spiral Down" in its placement - it's a great way to cap off the album, mixing all of the elements that the album had shown so far into one song. The song surprises you twice since one would think that a title such as "All Alone" would provide a gracious and mellow exit to the album, but instead it starts off as strong as the rest of the harder tracks on "Downburst," only to become a haunting and epic slab of metal.

"Downburst" is undoubtably pure heavy metal. It's hard, it's fast, it's epic, it's everything a lover of "classic" metal could want. However this album is certainly not for everyone. The vocals may not suit everyone's tastes. But since there are only ten songs on the album, none of which drag on, it shouldn't be a problem. "Downburst" is a real treat for heavy metal fans the world over.

Highs: Fantastic musicianship, superb vocals and a great sense of song writing keeps the album fresh and interesting.

Lows: The vocals can be distracting, as you compare them to other singers in Heavy Metal throughout the years.

Bottom line: Brainstorm's "Downburst" is 100% Heavy Metal! Check it out as soon as you can.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)