Quantum Catastrophe (2010)
USA, Metal Blade Records, Technical Death/Grind
Brain Drill is quite possibly the most divisive band in modern death metal. Bringing them up in a casual discussion with other metalheads can prompt several different but always passionate responses. Even among tech-death lovers, there’s a divide. For every one person who loves the band, there are at least five people that hate it beyond all sense. Admittedly, they haven’t made it easy on themselves; any band as mind numbingly technical and gloriously dissonant as Brain Drill is bound to run into strong opposition. There will always be accusations of ‘having no substance’ or being ‘nothing but wankery’ regardless of how merited such accusations actually are.
I do have to give the haters a pat on the back for saying the right things in the wrong context though. It’s quite obvious that none of the band members are human, because what they manage to do with their respective instruments is beyond human fallibility or error. Therefore, it stands to reason that after assimilating the genre known as death metal in all of its glory, these otherworldly beings created something that encapsulates and destroys it simultaneously. Without hesitation, brutality, melody and technicality as we puny mortals understood it were systematically eviscerated and restructured at a molecular level to create something that has no equal. Unrelenting does not even begin to describe the glorious sensory assault of Quantum Catastrophe. The sheer talent and virtuosity in this recording create an all-encompassing pocket of space and time that can only be fully appreciated by those with the fortitude of a mythic hero.
Their music is ‘soulless’ inasmuch as it’s like a force of nature; there’s no reasoning with it, because the most you can do is submit to the experience. The title track alone is more than enough to drive otherwise iron willed individuals to madness. Fact is, from the very beginning, Brain Drill removed all restraint. They broke every limit established by any and all predecessors without batting an eye and regardless of any approval. Saying this band ‘has no substance’ is willful ignorance of the fact that they’ve set new standards for speed, execution and intensity while leaving many impressive bands in the dust. It always amuses me to see metalheads hate on Brain Drill because ironically enough they use the same tired accusations I’ve heard average folks use against all metal; soulless, sounds the same, horrid noise etc. and just like the anti-metal brigade, a flurry of insults and cheap generalizations is as much as they’re willing to use for an argument. Regardless of that inanity, I can safely say that this is one of the best death metal albums of the past couple of years; a sophomore effort of this magnitude gives me high hopes for the future of their music and death metal as a whole. Every song on this album is a triumph and while certainly not the most accessible technical death metal band, you’ll know if you’re a driller after the first song you hear.