Symphorce's PhorcefulAhead remains one of my favorite albums of 2003, so I eagerly popped in the latest CD from singer Andy B. Franck's other band, Brainstorm — hoping to hear a headbanging combination of PhorcefulAhead's booming Queensr˙che-influenced choruses and Brainstorm's Maiden-meets-Priest Metus Mortis opus from 2001. Alas, Soul Temptation does not disappoint, and a three-part Middle-Eastern-tinged epic called "Trinity of Lust" even finds the band heading in new, maturer directions.
While the album's 11 songs here don't sound quite as fresh as Metus Mortis, Brainstorm's fifth album is still another slab of pure heavy metal laced with lyrics that are sometimes introspective ("I don't need no state of mind/Don't need no provocation/Something deep inside of me, I call it liberation," from "To the Head"), sometimes uplifting ("Turn into the fire, the truth will be heard/Enlighten the black of your soul/To light up the spirit and keep you alive/This is the doorway to survive," from "Doorway to Survive") and sometimes downright angst-ridden ("I wake up in a desert land/I hold my head down deep/With all my inner sufferings, I'll never fall asleep," from "Dying Outside"). Highlights include such Symphorce-tinged anthems as "Highs Without Lows," "Nunca Nos Rendimos" and "Rising," while the melodic "Fading" sounds oddly like David Coverdale-era Whitesnake.
Much like the band did on Metus Mortis, Brainstorm boasts a lack of cornball pretentiousness and gimmickry on Soul Temptation – think a heavier Kamelot – and Franck's low-range voice once again echoes the deeper ranges of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford while expanding its own reach. Toss in the walloping backing vocals of guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric along with the fast but not galloping rhythm section of bassist Andreas Mailänder and drummer Dieter Bernert, and you've got a refreshing metal album hung up on neither clichés nor egos. Temptation, indeed.