Review Summary: Easily one of the greatest grind releases ever. Gigantic Brain throws out the script and crafts a masterpiece.
Gigantic Brain began in 2000 as an experimental one-man grind act headed by John Brown. The band took to the underground scene with their first official release The Invasion Discography in 2004, which included many bizarre sci-fi influences that brought their sound to the very edges of recognizable 'grindcore', and this album gained them noticeable notoriety in the grind scene. After a long break, the band released 'I Swallow 16 Red Planets' on Grindcore Karaoke to the tune of silence, as the band's popularity seemed to have diminished severely since their 2004 breakout album. I'm going to attempt to explain why this is one of the biggest tragedies I've come across in the realm of extreme metal, and why this album deserves nothing short of everyone's attention.
To get an idea of what 'I Swallow 16 Red Planets' sounds like, one should first refer to the title itself; if you can imagine the literal sound of some monstrous space organism floating about the cosmos, consuming planets, you can get a sense of what you're in for here. What is presented is a sci-fi "soundtrack" of sorts to this strange futuristic planetary destruction, and it sounds absolutely insane. Roaring synths accompany electronic drums pads and oceanic guitar riffs, creating a seamless mesh of noise, space rock, post-metal, and electronica influences. And of course, good ol' grind. These styles melt into each other, often creating a sound that is very difficult to fit into a single genre label.
Now, ambition alone does not make a work of art. What sets this album above everything else in the genre is it's ability to be simultaneously brutal and gorgeous. As roaring alien/ robot screams tear their way across dizzying riff after riff, the melodic and atmospheric core of the songs never falter. Not even once. Every song on here has moments of beauty and majestic sounding grandeur that propel the album into another realm. The end result is something extremely pure, while also being completely foreign to the known musical landscape.
'I Swallow 16 Red Planets' is an towering achievement for avant-garde metal. It manages to create something wholly unique in the midst of the modern era, where influences are all to easy to fully embrace. John Brown seems very much in control of the story he wants to tell and the atmosphere he wants to create here, and it is so completely different than anything done before that he seems to do so without effort. If you are a fan of ambition in music, then look no further than this release. It could also easily appeal to many who are not fans of the genre, as it is extremely abstract and intriguing music that does not resemble normal metal.