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Brainstorm
Ambiguity
November 2000
Released: 2000, Metal Blade
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Joe

Ambiguity - the quality of having more than one meaning; an idea, statement, or expression capable of being understood in more than one sense



Well, I admit to understanding this CD in one sense and one sense only... It’s a damn fine slab of Metal! I have to thank Rick for bringing this disc to my attention. He mentioned it several times last month on the Disgruntled Metalheads message board and since we have very similar tastes, I sought out some sound samples. I managed to track down a few Real Audio clips from Ambiguity and what I heard sounded pretty good. But it was when EvilG played "Tear Down the Walls" on the Metal Rules radio show that I finally decided to place an order for it.



Produced by Kai Hansen’s partner in crime, Dirk Schlachter, Ambiguity is Brainstorm’s third album (to my knowledge) and the first to feature Symphorce vocalist Andy B. Franck (as far as I know, Andy is still with Symphorce). And if what I’ve read is correct, their previous vocalist was none other than Henning Basse of Metalium fame. (Are there any German musicians who are lacking in talent???) Basically, Brainstorm play Power Metal with a semi-strong Thrash influence. The only other band I could possibly compare them to (off the top of my head, at least...) is Agent Steel. Obviously though, Brainstorm are a much more polished sounding band with stronger songs and lots of "Euro-flair".



I was surprised, however, that the band chose to open the disc with "Crush Depth". It’s a good track, but it’s the type of song that requires more than one listen to fully appreciate. Track two, "Tear Down the Walls", is an immediate ear-catcher and would’ve made a much better opener. But, that slight error aside, the CD is great from start to finish, with only the Middle Eastern-tinged "Maharaja Palace" and the ballad "Far Away" being weaker tracks. My personal favorites include "Arena", "Lost Unseen", "Revenant", "Perception of Life", "Demonsion" (the BEST one, IMO), and the already mentioned "Tear Down the Walls".



So if you like your Power Metal a little less "happy" sounding with lyrics that DO NOT deal with knights and dragons and the "glory of Metal" (although, there is a little bit of that in "Maharaja Palace"... But just that one track...), sung by a vocalist who doesn’t sing in a register only dogs can hear, then you should definitely check out Brainstorm. For the record, though... I personally love singers that can make the family pet howl. But Andy B. Franck is kinda cool too.

Next review: » Brainstorm - Ambiguity
Previous review: » Braindance - Redemption

Brainstorm
Ambiguity
November 2000
Released: 2000, Metal Blade
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Rick

Why have I not heard of these guys before? I try to be as much of a student of metal as is possible but every now and then a gem like this slips by me for a little while. Well I happened to catch this one in time. Ambiguity is the latest CD from the German power/thrash band Brainstorm. Brainstorm have been around for 10 years. The released a few demos and had numerous line up changes till the signed with B.O. Records. They released their first CD entitled Hungry that same year and followed it up with Unholy in 1998. Not long after the recording of this CD vocalist Marcus Jurgens left the band. Brainstorm however found an excellent replacement in Henne Basse (ex Powerslave) to tour for the CD. Unfortunately, Henne left to concentrate of Metalium and left Brainstorm to find another vocalist. Well they struck gold with the acquisition of Ivanhoe and Symphorce vocalist Andy B. Franck. He is to be a permanent replacement but will also continue with Symphorce. The lineup for Ambiguity consists of Franck, Torsten Ihlenfeld: guitars, Milan Loncaric: guitar, Andy Mailander: bass, Deiter Bernert: drums with special guest Michael "Miro" Rodenberger: keyboards. Brainstorm also brought in a top notch production crew as Dirk Schlachter of Gamma Ray produced and Sasha Paeth mixed and mastered the disc.



As I have said, Brainstorm are a powermetal band which leans heavily towards the thrash end of the heavy metal spectrum. They kick off the Ambiguity with the double bass ripping track "Crush Depth". This is a gut pounding introduction to the sound of Brainstorm."Tear Down The Walls" kicks the CD into high gear with a thrashy track that, to me anyway, a tad like Annihilator. Deiter Bernert does some killer drumming on this track as he mixes things up reminding me of one of my favourite drummers, Bobby Jarzombek of Riot, Spastic Inc. and Halford. This is my favourite song on the disc followed closely by the pure powermetal exercise "Arena". Andy B. Franck proves that he is no slouch in the vocal department. He has to be one of the best voices in metal today. Not only does he have a powerful voice but he can also hit the high notes when the situation calls. "Maharaja Palace" incorporates a Middle Eastern feel that is a nice contrasting point to the many thrashers on the disc. The mid tempo "Beyond My Destiny" is a classic epic track and they even throw in a piano ballad titled "Far Away" which only adds to my respect of Andy B. Franck.



I only happened across this CD when I was checking out Andy B. Franck’s other band Symphorce. That is a great CD so I figured I would check out his other work. I think both Brainstorm and Andy B. Franck are a perfect fit for each other. The style that the band plays is perfectly suited to Franck’s powerful voice. Lets only hope that this relationship is as permanent as the band says.

Next review: » Brainstorm - Downburst
Previous review: » Braindance - Redemption





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