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While I normally seem to focus on newer music and probably 2/3 of my digital library is post 2000, I never really seem to be one of those first voices out. When I tackle something newer, it's typically been out for a few months and people who are interested have probably heard it already. That's why this is kind of new territory for me, as I'm not usually the "buyer's guide" type writer. But regardless, here I sit with the new Brain Drill album, Incongruous, one of the more anticipated releases of early 2012 within mainstream extreme metal.
Wait, did I say Brain Drill back there? Silly me, that's an understandable mistake to make, since I put this album and Quantum Catastrophe in a playlist and shuffled the songs and couldn't determine which album was playing without cheating. Beneath the Massacre seems to have a bit of a history under their belts, but this is my first conscious taste of the band, and all I can fucking think about are other bands this sounds like. I don't mean to say that these Quebecois tech noodlers are ripping anybody off, not at all. I mean that Incongruous is a safe and predictable release in a dull niche genre. Let's get something straight, I like overproduced, salad shooter tech death. I've given positive reviews to Origin and Decrepit Birth, Neuraxis ranked on my year end "best of" list last year, I jerk off Fleshgod Apocalypse every chance I get, I like Anata and Psycroptic and Deeds of Flesh and Severed Savior and other bands of this ilk. Where I draw the line and start to say the style itself is flawed is when bands like Brain Drill, Rings of Saturn, and Beneath the Massacre start shitting all over the concept of songwriting and just four finger tap sweep listeners into oblivion. Some of the aforementioned bands base their songs on meaty hyperspeed riffs, others load all the melody they can imagine into their music, and then there are the bands like this, who just throw everything they can into the music and it just ends up dull across the board. The only band that does this well enough to get away with is probably Origin.
So basically if you read my reviews for Brain Drill or Rings of Saturn, you know what my problems are with Incongruous here. The notion of songwriting in the traditional sense has been thrown out the window from the highest suite of the Burj Khalifa, and replaced with hundreds of warm up exercises. I get it, y'all can play your instruments as well as anybody else, but this shit is just lame. Show a bit of creativity somewhere, por favor. The songs all pretty much run together apart from a few exceptions. One is "Hopes" because it's the first time a traditional deathcore style slamdown shows up (though it could possibly be in earlier tracks, but if it does I've never noticed despite listening to this several times), and the second to last track, "Damages", for actually basing itself on a real riff as opposed to relentless blasting and fretboard wizardry. The aforementioned riff is actually extraordinarily good too and shows that the band is indeed capable of writing something memorable, but unfortunately the rest of the album is occupied by silly noodling that goes nowhere and doesn't stick with you at all. The vocals aren't much to sneeze at either, but unlike the other bands I compare them to, the sit in the lower register and never wander outside of their comfort zone, which is certainly a plus.
I wish there was more praise I could give this, but I just can't in good conscience. It's weak, it's overproduced, it isn't memorable, and it just blends in to the sea of faces. I can't describe it any better than Animal from the Muppets behind the kit, a bland vocalist, and guitarists/bassists who have spiders for hands. It's noodly and all over the place and doesn't have any lasting impact. I'd certainly recommend the track "Damages" because it's a legitimately really awesome track hidden away at the end of this forgettable mush, but if you're like me and can't get behind the likes of Brain Drill and Rings of Saturn, you can safely skip this. If you love that stuff, then by all means, this is for you.
Originally written for http://lairofthebastard.blogspot.com/