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The hunger is growing stronger. - 80%

Diamhea, February 4th, 2018

The timeframe during which Biotronic Genesis was released belies its qualities, as was common for thrash bands entering the fray a hair too late and eventually becoming suffocated by the sands of time. Acid Storm are an atypical Brazilian export, insofar as they go against the collective aesthetic commonly associated with South American thrash acts like Sarcofago, earlier Sepultura et al. Their style is forward thinking to a point, although they rarely sacrifice subtlety for bone-breaking excess. The album is sloppy at times, in an endearingly raw and live sort of way, and the more cerebral lyrics really make Acid Storm exist in their own little niche outside of the norm. The overarching question regarding all of this, is does this actually work?

Why yes, Biotronic Genesis is quite the enjoyable listen, injecting scant technical flourishes into a template that feels like early Forbidden a lot of the time, assuredly due to Pastore's clean vocal timbre, which is an operatic howl reminiscent of early Overkill. The production also reeks of that Feel the Fire rawness, with the crunchy and unhinged guitar tone dominating the sonic palette. Moliner's bass also claws and fights for some of the spotlight on tracks like the snappy "Biologic Mechanization" and the concrete-cracking closer "Star Lost." Acid Storm have earned the progressive tag in some circles due to their staggered and wild songwriting, which includes lots of quick deviations, bobbing and weaving throughout the thrash framework proper.

Surprisingly, it makes for a very easy listen in full, as songs simply jump right into the next as they finish, nearly to the point that the album feels like one large track. The only real breather is the instrumental "Symbiotic Love," which features some moody Annihilator-esque acoustic guitars threaded through some wild leads. Furthermore, I like Marcos' and Eric's riffing style, which feels light on its feet, yet capable of cranking out some buzzsaw punishment in a pseudo thrash/speed style when called for. Extra dimension and depth is granted by the dextrous rhythmic transitions, resulting in a very hyperactive sounding record that never loses its grasp on the listener's throat, which should always be first priority.

Biotronic Genesis is a pretty killer record, and certainly one of Brazil's better and more interesting exports. Acid Storm certainly aren't lacking in character, and the has enough incendiary moments to gel coherently with the grimy distortion and pluggy bass. The band seemingly tried to weather the '90s before putting the project on indefinite hold at some point. Looking back at things, Biotronic Genesis isn't really a stylistic surprise, coming during a time when thrash, out of desperation, was pushing the boundaries to the point of collapsing the entire structure in on itself. Some of it worked, some if it didn't. Chalk these guys up to the former category.

Technical/prog thrash from Brazil! - 85%

Hellish_Torture, September 6th, 2014

Brazil is well known for its prolific metal scene and the “bastard” old school attitude of the local metal crowd. It’s not a coincidence that this country, full of problems, anger and insecurity about future, has an own thrash scene with its own trademark sound, constituting one of the most important countries for thrash metal and extreme metal in general. First of all, Sepultura, which is one of the most famous metal bands in the world, and then other cult names such as Attomica, Mutilator, Sarcofago, Sextrash, Violator, Vulcano, Chakal, Executer, Korzus, The Mist and so on. Most of these bands have a quite extreme sound (particularly, Sarcofago and Mutilator were fundamental names for the development of death and black metal), but this is not the only side of Brazilian underground. Acid Storm are here to demonstrate it.

“Biotronic Genesis”, the only full-length of this band, is one of those album which came out too late to be recognized. In 1991, thrash was beginning to go through a period of huge crisis, despite still surviving in the underground, and this album is a typical product of that time: so many thrash bands were choosing to go beyond the classic scheme of thrash, introducing more technical and progressive elements into their sound (“Time Does Not Heal” is probably the most remarkable example); so, while death metal and the first signs of “modern crossover” (industrial metal, alternative metal, funk metal, rap metal etc.) were taking more and more place in the mainstream scene, thrash was taking a personal path, focusing less on brutality (which had become a death metal trademark) and more on complexity, sometimes with good results, sometimes not. “Biotronic Genesis” belongs definitely to the first category.

It’s very rare to hear a Brazilian band playing technical thrash metal, especially with a “progressive” edge to it. This is a very well-composed album, and it seems that every part is perfectly calibrated to fit together perfectly. Every instrument expresses itself completely, each one playing a proper “individual” part, but everything blends together perfectly (except some sporadic cases, like the final track “Star Host”, which unfortunately features some unnecessary random tempo changes).

Just when “Metal Beasts” opens the album, kicking in with a very good speed/thrash riff, you instantly notice the high level of technicality of this band. Despite the odd and amateurish vocals (which have always been a common point in many underground thrash bands), you’ll be amazed by the individual technique of the musicians, which, blended together, is able to create powerful and personal songs. Very often, in a metal album, the bass is buried beneath the rest; this album is definitely an exception. The bass plays a fundamental part, being even complementary to the guitar riffs, instead of a mere accompaniment put underneath. Just listen to “Last Days of Paradise” to hear the genial roles of the bass, perfectly blended with the guitars. Sometimes, the bass parts sound even a bit funky, but not too much; this is surely different from Mordred. Also the drums are played in an atypical way, featuring lots of odd time signatures and various technical patterns that, despite what one may think, don’t sound forced at all and fit perfectly the music.

So, well, every instrument has its space, but, like on every metal album worthy of respect, guitars are always the predominant element. And, on this album, the guitarists go totally nuts. Besides many creative and vivacious speed/thrash riffs, you will find some moments of pure genius. These guys have really a lot of taste in terms of weird and eclectic melodies, and several tracks on this album (“Metal Beasts”, “Hungry for Life”, “Galactic Holocaust”, “Star Host”) demonstrate it very well, featuring lunatic riffs and genial melodic structures; also the way these melodies often switch into melodic and intense solos, like on “Biologic Mechanization”, is absolutely godly and many so-called “technical” bands (which just wank around with their instruments playing mindless “virtuosistic” nonsense) should take example from this.

This album is very good from start to finish, but there are some definite highlights which shine above the rest and should be described more in detail to give them justice. One of these is undoubtedly the instrumental track “Symbiotic Love”: it begins with a beautiful combination of clean guitar arpeggios and perfect guitar solos; then, the guitar solos leave space to a very good thrash march that fall into some stop-and-go moments (giving more prominence to the arpeggios) and after this, an amazing blend of guitar solos and bass solos takes your breath away. But the greatest song of all is surely “Galactic Holocaust”, where the “intelligent virtuosity” of the band reaches the peak of its expression: between absolutely dreamy solos, kickass speed metal onslaughts, unexpected high-pitched riffs, other weird riffs built upon breath-taking escalations of notes and other remarkable bass solos, this song just blew me away and made me see how much this band is talented.

So, Acid Storm is definitely an underrated act. Their work demonstrates that, even in a raw genre such as thrash metal, you are allowed be as technical as you please, if your music still makes sense and sounds powerful. And Acid Storm definitely does. I think that, if this album came out in the golden age of thrash metal, it would’ve been revered as a classic of technical thrash, and if it came out nowadays, between all those mediocre clone bands, the band would have been put maybe even above Vektor in terms of personality and songwriting ability. So, even if Acid Storm’s performance has been surprisingly exceeded just two years later by another Brazilian band, the mighty Butcher, “Biotronic Genesis” is still a great piece of technical/prog thrash that deserves to be checked out.

An odd but interesting album - 70%

Zealot_Crusader, January 29th, 2011

Acid Storm may belong to a music scene shrouded in obscurity outside of it's home country of Brazil, but it's sounds are more familiar in ways than some of their more extreme cousins. They sounded as though they were out to do more than play really fast, unlike bands such as Sarcofago or Dorsal Atlântica (judging by their early recordings), but they seemed to lack the resources or time needed to fully realize what they were after. Obviously, the most famous metal imports from Brazil are of the death metal and thrash metal variety, specifically bands like Sepultura and Krisiun, but Acid Storm strove to think just outside the box with this album to make them more memorable than some of their peers of that ilk.

Whereas their debut EP was something of a thrash metal/speed metal retread that had competent playing but little by the way of distinctive songwriting, here we find them exploring conceptual science fiction themes not altogether dissimilar from bands like Agent Steel. Incorporating more melody into their previous mix of thrash and speed metal to make something comparable to countrymen Overdose did on the album "You're Really Big!", but with less by the way of virtuoso shredding, the band was heading into territory more familiarly tread by bands like Forbidden or even latter-era Heathen. Placing a progressive spin on the music to match the conceptual nature of the lyrics, Acid Storm created something more unique and varied than works from the above mentioned bands, even if those bands produced music that was more accessible and listenable to fans of the genre in general.

While not progressive enough overall to be labeled as such, there are some interesting time changes and unusual songwriting found here to make this album more than just the melodic thrash/speed metal release. With odd power metal flourishes here and there, such as a vocal choir on one track and even some synthesizers, the band pushes the limits of it's chosen style in ways that show promise, but remain too scattered in their implementation to be appealing on a large scale. Perhaps this, and the fact that the album was arriving at the tail end of the thrash metal/speed metal craze, made it too late for this album to gain much attention outside of local fans regardless of it's qualities.

Highlights of the album include decent production, certainly a step above "Why? Dirty War", and tight playing capable of executing all the stop-and-go riffs, and technical flourishes that can cause lesser musicians to stumble in an era without the aid of programs like Pro Tools. Low points include a general lack of focus, a really off-putting narration for the album's intro cut, and a bizarrely abrupt ending to the last song that makes one think the song was cut off by accident in mastering. Also, the album could have been just a touch longer, to better help realize the progressive and conceptual ideas the band tried to squeeze into otherwise conventional songs.

Overall, "Biotronic Genesis" may suffer from an abundance of ambition and not enough refinement, but the sheer playing ability of the band's members remedy this problem enough to make the album enjoyable for those individuals with more than a passing interest in fast metal made during it's heyday, and determined enough to go through the difficulty of tracking down the original vinyl (or at least a decent digital rip of it).

Recommended for (but not limited to) fans of Agent Steel, early Overdose, Helstar, Forbidden, early Blind Guardian, and Deathrow (Deu)