BRAIN DRILL – Apocalyptic Feasting (2008)

Brain Drill - Apocalyptic Feasting So when you call your band Brain Drill, you’ve inevitably limited your musical palette considerably. You’re going to play either grindcore or death metal, and unless you want to be the laughing stock of the metal community, you better do it damn well (whatever “it” may be). As it happens, California’s Brain Drill happen to play the latter. And yes, they do it well. Even damn well.

The backstory: Brain Drill formed in 2005 and released Apocalyptic Feasting in February of 2008. Inexplicably, in less than a month, everyone but guitarist Dylan Ruskin left the band. I’m not sure why. If Apocalyptic Feasting winds up being the sole piece of work by which we are to judge the fruits of their labors, many people (myself included) will be left thinking of what could have been. As it stands, however, we can definitely look at what is.

If you’re a fan of Necrophagist or Gorguts, the technical death metal offered on Apocalyptic Feasting will be familiar musical territory. The guitar work is executed with surgical precision. The vocals are gurgle with menacing unintelligibility. The drumming is inhuman. Take note of that last statement especially. The drum work that’s displayed here is mind-boggling in its ferocity.

The best place to start here is the title track. It begins with a lightning-fast roar that somehow manages to kick the tempo up even further beyond its already breakneck pace, before toning it back down to only moderately maniacal. The breaks between tempo shifts are expertly punctuated by drum fills, courtesy of the aforementioned, possibly inhuman Marco Pitruzzella (there’s a ton of videos of him on youtube – check them out if you want your head to spin). By the time the song concludes, everything is moving at fuller-than-full-throttle – the guitars and drums are churning away, and the bass is leap-frogging from note to note, like it’s interpreting some kind of deformed etude from hell.

While there’s no denying that what Brain Drill are doing is death metal, it’s interesting to hear splashes from other genres show up in songs. There’s some thrash elements on the album opener, Gorification, especially when the main melody resurfaces midway through the song. The screeching vocals and pulsing, focused drum-beat at the beginning of The Depths of Darkness is very reminiscent of grindcore (as are the lyrics). And for any metalcore kids who might’ve gone far, far stray and somehow wound up here, The Parasites boasts two excellent breakdowns.

It should be stated that as brutal as Brain Drill get on Apocalyptic Feasting, they’d be even more so if the album had a fuller sound. The production on the album is thin (sometimes very thin) sounding, and the bass is sadly buried deep underneath the guitars (which is a shame, because when you can hear it, it – like the rest of the instruments here – is doing amazing things).

Apocalyptic Feasting isn’t perfect. If you put the monstrous technical prowess aside, there’s really not a whole lot else on display with these songs. They all kind of come and go as one would expect them to, and there’s certainly not a lot of depth to them (again forgoing the technical madness contained therein). But the songs are fun to listen to (if death metal doesn’t displease you, that is), and after listening to a string of disappointing metal albums recently to review for this site, the insanity of Brain Drill is a much-welcomed breath of fresh air. Add to that the fact that the album has a brisk 35 minute runtime, as well as a tireless devotion to classic metal imagery (zombies, plagues and good ol’ fashioned blood and gore), and you’re left with a highly enjoyable (if a bit one-dimensional) metal album.

HD RATING: 7.5/10

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One Response to “BRAIN DRILL – Apocalyptic Feasting (2008)”

  1. gnarlyshillelagh Says:

    Fantastic review. Can’t say I disagree with what you’re saying. Their drummer is indeed bat-shit insane, and it’s definitely fun to listen to.

    On top of that, your writing style is really nice, and I can’t deny that I’m excited to read some of the other reviews you’ve written.

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