Review Summary: Someone fetch me a friggin' violin.
It's no secret that Tech Death nowadays sadly has lost the grip on what it once was. What once was a genre that was built on atmosphere and technical mastery (in addition to clever songwriting) sadly has now become devoted to wankery and hammering away at the instruments with almost complete disregard for the quality of the music, and sadly has become a ghost of what it once was. Cryptopsy had what it took to blow your mind with super technical song structures, inhuman drumming and solos that were seemingly ripped from the air above them, however what they also did was create a chilling atmosphere their music had tons of intelligence and class applied to it too; since the introduction of deathcore into mainstream media, nothing has been the same since. Technical Death Metal suddenly has more in common with deathcore and seems to be going down the same path that Nu-metal did in the early 2000s.
Enter Brain Drill. These guys are all competent musicians, and I would be lying if I told you that there weren't some legitimately cool moments on this disc. Problem is, they're buried beneath what sounds less like music and more like musicians having a competition to see who can play the fastest while a vocalist growls over them. Worsening this is the production quality of this album makes everything sound muddy and unnatural; at times all you can hear is the drumming and the growling because they're tuned up so loud, and the guitar and bass sounds as if it's coming from another room. The moments where you can hear the bass are far and in between, and the bass sounds like someone down tuned their acoustic guitar and brought it to the studio to record. Which is sad, because when you can hear the guitar and the bass, the riffing is impressive, to say the least. The vocalist deserves a special mention too, as his guttural growling is impressive, and at times downright terrifying. But he's deserving of so much more than he's given on this disc; considering how he stands head and shoulders above the less-than-impressive showmanship offered. These guys seem to have an idea how to deliver effective technicality, but they never feel like songs, more like wankery contests. Which is sad, because all the ingredients for a good death metal album on here, but they go too far with them and create a disc that I refer to as "incomprehensible".
Speaking of the songs, there are two reasons I haven't mentioned any of the songs: 1) They all float through one ear and out the other, and 2) they all sound the same. It's almost impossible to tell a song apart on this album because they all blend into each other at one point and cease to exist; there aren't any memorable lyrics, and most of the lyrics are all depressing gloom and doom lyrics about the apocalypse that don't so much create a movie in your mind, but rather sound like the ramblings of a maniacal street preacher. In the end, it's sad that Brain Drill aren't a better band than they already are. They seem to have great musicianship skills, and there are some moments on this album that do sound like they're improving a bit, but for the most part, this album is just painful to listen to (maybe that's why the band calls themselves "Brain Drill"). While I thankfully didn't get any Deathcore vibes from this record, sadly it just isn't the album it could have been. But, I do have some hope for these guys, and I do think they have a bright future ahead of them; this is only their sophomore disc, and Cannibal Corpse had the same thing happen, where their first couple discs were rather meh at best but starting with Tomb of the Mutilated
, the band started improving from there on. Let's hope Brain Drill can improve as well.