Reviews Coming Soon

Album Reviews Coming Soon: Queen Elephantine - Kala, Karg - Weltenasche

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Album Review: Brain Drill - Apocalyptic Feasting

True to their name the album starts with the sound of a drill being fired up and you spend the next half-hour having your brain scrambled by a concoction of drums not dissimilar to falling hailstones on a tin roof, fiercely warbling and violently ricocheting guitars, and the devil’s own set of lungs roaring, screeching and gurgling in equal measure. This is the sound of zombies feasting on a mix of death metal and grindcore. Splattercore, anyone?

Marco Pitruzella AKA Lord Marco is one of fastest drummers in the world and his hammering, machine-gun double-kicks are just plain scary. ‘Parasites’ is a fine example of the utter mayhem as the drums lay waste and the guitars reach a whining peak before cascading down into deep chugging bass notes. Like rain in puddles, like blood hitting walls, all amplified to an ear-splitting crescendo these lost boys have a thirsty appetite for mayhem. The track’s title is repeatedly screamed out by several different voices and it’s like being attacked by a zombie army. ‘Bury The Living’ carries on the theme with the sound of a chainsaw hacking off limbs to accompanying screams and splintering bone. There’s even a fusion of jazz-funk and grindcore at one point.

With the bloodied cover art of skinless zombies munching on each other, track titles like ‘Forcefed Human Sh**’, a website that features an image of a man having his brain drilled out next to the words ‘sounds like’, and bold claims like ‘the new x-treme’, Brain Drill are clearly the loudest and proudest metalheads around. It truly is the most insane, discordant and shocking thing I’ve heard in a while. Yet you can’t deny there is a certain exhilaration about assaulting your ears like this - and there is no better way to annoy the neighbours!

Also online @ Subba-Cultcha =  http://www.subba-cultcha.com/album-reviews/article.php?contentID=5157

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gig Review: The Drift – Man On The Moon, Cambridge 14/05/08

The Man On The Moon is a curious venue. It’s dark, grimy and has a bizarre set-up with the sub-woofer located under the stage and a wiring system so complex that it enables the soundman to only alter pairs of monitors at a time. With the lights rigged up to blaze out only a red glow it’s almost like being in a quirky Dutch brothel.

Tonight’s promoter, Xavier, doubles as the opening act, Twenty Three Hanging Trees. He’s hunched over his guitar making a warping wall-of-sound belch forth with the use of heavy reverb and loops. The venue’s mural of an astronaut floats behind his head and this only increases the whole other-worldly appeal of it. Above him hangs a dead disco ball and before him the audience sits cross-legged reverentially rocking back and forth in time with the warping guitar. He reaches across to pick up two musical boxes, in turn, which he carefully places on his pick-ups and a steady, tinkling tune is heard over the reverb as he winds them. It’s all a little too cosmic and somewhat peculiar, but there is a certain magic within his music.

Urbantramper & 10,000 Times Glorious, candidates for the most pretentious bandname ever, seem at first to be the very definition of “twee” but have the substance to back it all up. The lead-singer, the aforementioned Urbantramper, resembles a vicar with his shirt done up beneath his chin but he displays an obvious talent for the guitar, confidently plucking out simple, catchy folk rhythms. Sitting by his side, gazing up at him, is Eli D on tambourine and xylophone. Her harmonies are simply beautiful tonight and along with keyboardist George’s punchy vocal style they provide excellent back-up. They appear to be suffering a little from nerves but it doesn’t show in the music and their strong, upbeat songs are well-received by the sparse crowd.

By the time The Drift take the stage the venue is by no means at capacity but with many still sitting it appears fuller and quite a fair turn-out for a Wednesday night. After some early technical problems with the sound, the band begin recreating their complex mix of ambient jazz, gentle post-rock and dub with a surprising level of consistency.

Jeff Jacobs is the focal point raising his battered-looking trumpet to slowly eek out a resplendent blare that dips and rises gently. Across from him, Danny Grody ducks up and down as his guitar oozes a warm, melodious echoed arrangement. Intermittently he turns to his keyboard to mimic the trumpet but it’s a less harsh, lusher sound that emerges. Meanwhile, Safa Shokrai, bearded and bespectacled, stands in the background working his enormous upright bass with nimble fingers, occasionally whipping out a bow to produce longer notes. All the while his thick, black specs slip slowly down his face only to be swept back into place when the music allows him time to. Finally, we have Rich Douthit on drums, disciplined enough not to overuse his kit, employing an uplifting beat before dropping out to produce an ambient wash of cymbals.

Together, the band and their music are simply awesome. They kick off with ‘If Wishes Were Like Horses’ with it’s slow, steady, “come hither” teasing, follow through into ‘Uncanny Valley’, all jazzy trumpet, bright and sharp, with a pulsing afrobeat and rich dub wash before giving us all a glorious rendition of the dramatic ‘Land’s End’. As their set comes to an end they seem happy to take a shouted request and play a stunning track from an earlier EP (I missed the track title) that includes a stunning array of percussive tricks including some outstanding rim-scrapes which involves dragging the drumstick over the ridges at the centre of the cymbal.

The only thing missing tonight is a drop-screen light show and even that might even have ended up intruding on the purity of the music. The Drift are off to continue their mad dash around the dives of Europe whilst we lucky few are tonight more than grateful for their insanity.

Photo courtesy of Rich E

This review originally appeared on Sonic Dice and TLOBF