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Brain Drill - "Quantum Catastrophe" (CD)

Brain Drill - "Quantum Catastrophe" CD cover image

"Quantum Catastrophe" track listing:

1. Obliteration Untold (3:46)
2. Beyond Bludgeoned (4:16)
3. Awaiting Imminent Destruction (2:51)
4. Nemesis of Neglect (4:28)
5. Entity of Extinction (3:46)
6. Mercy to None (3:14)
7. Monumental Failure (3:25)
8. Quantum Catastrophe (16:03)

Reviewed by on May 9, 2010

"...'Quantum Catastrophe' is as big of a mess as the title suggests."

Technical death metal is a fusion of 1980’s guitar technicians, like Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, combined with death metal elements like speed-freak riffs, blast beats, and guttural vocals. Combining those two types of music can be difficult, as both need the entirety of focus to carry the desired effect. Put them together and the chances are crazy heaps of seemingly unrelated wild notes will fly from the speakers, but some bands still manage the combination enough to get some good music done. But technical death metal band Brain Drill couldn’t manage it on their newest long player, and “Quantum Catastrophe” is as big of a mess as the title suggests.

Every song is mostly an extreme amalgamation of notes. Guitarist Dylan Ruskin has never met a riff he liked and only likes to run back and forth across the fret board. Bassist Ivan Munguia plays his bass like a 32nd-note-only guitar, with piles of notes rumbling forth. And drummer Ron Casey is more machine-like behind the kit than any android could ever be. But these avalanches of noise aren’t that good. The band put together math-inspired and technically executed songs, but there isn’t anything in here except a cacophony.

“Entity of Extinction” surprisingly starts with a fast death metal section that is pretty straightforward. But it eventually dissolves into an interchanging fest of leads from all three instruments, with everyone going nuts all at once. “Beyond Bludgeoned” is another cascade of notes, with every person just wailing away. And so on and so forth throughout the album. The brief melodies are disjointed, the time signatures are more schizophrenic that a dog on ‘shrooms and the vocals of Steve Rathjen switch between extreme metal styles more than a serial dater.

Every once in a while, like the second halves of “Awaiting Imminent Destruction” and “Monumental Failure,” the band manages to stumble onto a groove that is worth repeating or exploring. But they don’t much do that, just moving back to more notes after a little while.

Other technical death metal outfits often fit some semblance of songwriting, musicality, or emotion into their music along with the technical death. Brain Drill doesn’t though, as they are satisfied pushing the boundaries of technicality and brutality while sacrificing all else. In the press kit Ruskin says, “The musical dynamics and skill level of everyone in the band have improved much more than the previous album.” Brain Drill would have been better off if they hadn’t.

Highs: The few sections that have coherent melody and groove are the best moments, like on “Monumental Failure.”

Lows: The title track is a 16-minute mess of angular junk.

Bottom line: This technical and brutal death metal is terrible music.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)