Brainstorm – Soul Temptation – 4/5
I’ve been pondering this album for the best part of a week now, deliberating what rating to give it, questioning its originality and style, etc, etc, and you know what I came up with? Absolutely nothing. No adequate way of explaining it, no comparisons to make, and since it desperately deserves mention I am now writing all of this is one go. No breaks, no stops, welcome to my 10 minute review of this unknown German Power metal classic!
No, its not the most original piece ever devised, and sounds like standard power metal all the way through, so why the high score? It’s quite simple really; balance. Everything is balanced perfectly; the vocalist is able to go into these Kiske (Helloween) like high pitched screams, but displaying excellent breadth of tone he doesn’t limit himself to a copycat gimmick; the drumming does his fair share of blasting away but never fails to break things up; and the guitars are mixed so the bass has plenty of presence, whilst the guitars can play riffs that seamlessly go from latter-era Blind Guardian-esque thick melody to ballsier ‘Accept’ style pin-your-balls-to-the-wall Heavy Metal crunch, to pick up the pace for a passage that wouldn’t feel out of place in most American Power Metal.
And if you think that all would sound confusing, you’d be wrong. Despite being a weird blend of every style under the sun, it always has a sense of melodic power to it, resulting in some truly anthemic sing-a-long chorus moments, emotional ballads and furious guitar solo duels that aren’t simply exercises in neo-classical wankery. With occasional interplay from backing vocals, you’d think they would end it all here, but instead go on to add an almost oriental-folk-like slant in the three part progressive epic “Trinity of Lust,” and even a cover of the pop song ‘Amarillo.’
What makes this album a cut above the others that aren’t perhaps the most original in their conception is that everything feels sliced together in such a way as to incorporate some of the best elements from across the entire genre without ever becoming incoherent. From the soaring highs to the emotional lows, the soft caressing melodies to the hard edged roars, not a toe is stepped out of bounds and the result makes for perfect music for the indecisive listener. Why choose what flavour of PM to listen to when you can have them all?
Highlights: Highs Without Lows, The Leading, Shiva’s Tears, To The Head