Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: Brain Drill - Apocalyptic Feasting

From Nitro to Dragonforce to Infected Malignity, regardless of the era you'll always find some metal band trying to push the limits of a genre to ridiculous levels, sometimes sacrificing originality and memorable songwriting for an album that takes a concept way, way further than anyone in the past dared attempt. This tends to lend itself to lots of polarised opinions, the minority praising the band's flash and excess, with the majority scorning them as an unoriginal gimmick band. Brain Drill is the perfect example.

Taking a genre to ridiculous levels never before thought of? That's true, technical death metal has never been this over the top, the album being basically one long sweep pick over triggered blasting that occasionally slow downs to hyperspeed at a minimum. Sacrificing originality? I'd say so - we've heard everything on this disc before, same kind of riffs, drums, rhythms, vocals etc. Sacrificing songwriting? Nay, I'd say not. I've listened to this album a lot and know a great deal of the riffs, vocal lines, rhythms. I can hear the opening notes and tell you what song it is, and sometimes I can be found humming the mid-paced break (still full of shredding a blasting) in Revelation, or the killer opening riff to The Parasites. The album does become memorable after enough listens, and the riffwork is strong and catchy enough for the whole album.

If this were a regular paced tech-death album that stopped sweep picking sometimes and maybe had an occasional slow section, then it'd be a pretty cool. Its good, riffy, well written, flows'd be a good album. But instead, the band took all those riffs and upped the levels to absurdity, with about a million counter melodies, cosntantly shifting walls of blast beats occasionally ending in a cascade of fills. I wouldn't even say the music here is THAT technical - you'd certainly have to be skilled to be able to pull it off but it reminds me of Dragonforce in the sense that's its way more flashy and fast than it is actually technical, I've heard slower, more simple albums that require more technical skill than this. Its not necessarily an album of "look what great musicians we are!" but more "we're gonna kick you in the balls with seven million sweeps and blasts until your testicles emerge through your cranium...and while we're at it we'll show you a bunch of cool songs too".

In short, this IS an album of complete and utter excess - but the writing is good too. You can get fucked up on something, stick on some headphones and be awed by all the fretboard acrobatics going on, OR you can put this on in the background and just listen to it as a regular tech-death album with catchy riffs and the like. It works both ways. Plus it doesn't suffer a lot of the same problems that (bad) tech-death does - its still very aware that its a death metal album, not much neoclassical influence, the drummer doesn't play a fill every 3 seconds, there's no jazz influence. Just a strong, consistent, memorable death metal album with 50,000 sweeps. Yeah its over the top and excessive but that's not all there is to it.

Oh yeah, and the solo opening at 1:31 sounds EXACTLY like an opera singer or something when it starts, I've done a double take a few times on it. Can anyone else relate?

Buy this album on Amazon

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