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Austrian Death Machine - "Total Brutal" (CD)

Austrian Death Machine - "Total Brutal" CD cover image

"Total Brutal" track listing:

1. Hello California (1:25)
2. Get to the Choppa (2:47)
3. Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers (2:23)
4. All of the Songs Sound the Same (0:13)
5. I Am a Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton (3:34)
6. Come With Me If You Want to Live (3:48)
7. What It's Like to Be a Singer At Band Practice (1:18)
8. Who Is Your Daddy, and What Does He Do? (3:12)
9. You Have Just Been Erased (2:22)
10. Broo-Tall Song Idea (0:39)
11. Here Is Subzero, Now Plain Zero (3:09)
12. So Far, So Good, So Let's Talk About It (0:42)
13. Screw You (Benny) (2:50)
14. Why? (0:25)
15. If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It (3:43)
16. It's Not a Tumor (3:17)
17. Not So Hidden Track (2:49)

Reviewed by on June 8, 2009

"'Get to the Choppa' is the undeniable gem of the album, with the perfect balance of head banging metal and a touch of Arnold silliness. "

Forget about the invading orc hordes from Mordor, dread Cthulhu rising from his watery prison, or the dark lord Beelzebub corrupting the souls of the world. None of those things are half as brutal as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is without question the single most destructive force in the universe, especially to random passersby who get in the way when he tries to run anywhere with a gun. Tim Lambesis of metalcore act As I Lay Dying has teamed up with “Ahhhnold” (Chad Ackerman of Destroy The Runner) to dedicate an entire album to the kindergarten cop and show the world that he can rip their faces off better than any other movie personality.

Some might argue that metalcore isn’t brutal enough to cover a topic as exceedingly brutal as the Terminator himself, and with a name like “Austrian Death Machine,” it may have seemed that death metal would have been a better choice. Naysayers rest assured that the lower end guttural death growls would have ruined the comedy of the lyrics and made the frequent Arnold impersonations seem completely out of place. The album is purposefully as over the top as the movies of the man being emulated, with every song featuring a minimum of one guitar solo and most having a breakdown to repeat a catchy chorus.

Tim Lambesis certainly isn’t taking the music too seriously, and he lets the audience know it. Ahhhnold pops in on the fourth track to remind everyone that all of the songs sound the same because they are all brutal, and then later states that the vocalist of “As I Lay Crying” sounds like a dying moose. A good dose of self-depredation is necessary in this sort of release for the humor to work with the actual metal.

“Get to the Choppa” is the undeniable gem of the album, with the perfect balance of head banging metal and a touch of Arnold silliness. The humorous nature of the lyrics combined with how catchy the tune is means it will stick around in the head for quite some time. Many a metal fan will be advising their friends to “get to the choppa and don’t let anyone hold them back” for several days after hearing the song. Another highlight is “I Am a Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton.” Whoever would have thought there was a decent chorus in the subject matter of living tissue draped over an endoskeleton? Metal music does continue to amaze the world. Of course the music can’t be all laughs, as the album takes a turn for the introspective in the eighth track when the listener is advised to contemplate just who is daddy really is, and what it is that he does. The only song that doesn’t really work within the formula is “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers.” It turns out that there’s nothing brutal at all about screaming that phrase repeatedly.

Laced throughout the real songs are short tracks with Ahhhnold and Tim having a back and forth for more comedic value, and some of them work better than others. The best line is probably on the opening track when Arnold thanks the listener for their time, their clothes, and their motorcycle. The interlude titled “What It's Like to Be a Singer At Band Practice” is one of those ones that doesn’t work out as well. The faux Arnold becoming exasperated by band members who won’t stop playing and let him talk may have been funny in theory, but it just seems like an annoying obstacle that has to be overcome to get back to the music in practice. The secret track at the end, which consists of Lambesis announcing that he’s going to fart, is another one that really could have been dropped.

The potential fans of Austrian Death Machine already know who they are. Anyone who has ever felt that what As I Lay Dying really needed was a dose Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations and a bunch of Governator themed songs has officially found their album. There’s also no denying the novelty of “Total Brutal” to just about anyone else who enjoys metal. Whether it’s really worth shelling out actual money to own it instead of just giggling at the MySpace samples every now and again will depend on how hardcore an Arnold fan the audience really is.

Highs: Head banging metal with humorous Arnold themed lyrics

Lows: Some of the talking interludes are annoying and the songs all do sound the same

Bottom line: Everyone should hear this Arnold-themed album at least once, but whether its worth a purchase depends on how much you love the Governator.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)