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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)