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Evil Brain Taste > Number Two > Reviews
Evil Brain Taste - Number Two

A spoonful of riffs helps the humour go down - 81%

gasmask_colostomy, May 24th, 2023

When I was 18, a friend brought a crate of Strongbow cider to my then-recent ex-girlfriend’s birthday. Obviously, we ended up drinking a lot of it and she puked beside a tree in the park where we were sitting, with me as the obvious choice to look after her even though we had broken up. The only reason I mention this is because the same park is featured in the pretty silly video to 'Arithmophobia', in which the band are exercising because they can’t do maths. Yeah, you should watch it, then it’ll make more sense. Anyway, I feel like I might have enjoyed Evil Brain Taste a little more at 18 when I hadn’t listened to that much fun death thrash, but the UK duo still turn out to be a nice surprise now that I’m the wrong side of 30. The deliberately named Number Two proves a rather divergent experience.

Judging by the only track I had previously heard ('Ghosts', from the 2019 EP), EBT have dropped some of their former blackened characteristics to explore that juncture between thrash, death, and grindcore that has been so profitable for Ghoul, presumably in a non-monetary sense. The reason I think of Ghoul first is because both bands have their own unique style and quirky sense of humour: case in point, the opening track here advertises a product called Evil Brain Taste that sounds a lot like cough syrup to me, while 'Eatmore Meat Products' backs up an old style jingle with 30 seconds of circus grindcore. Number Two is not all fake commercialism, including themes about serial killers, flatulence, YouTube challenges, and lots of horror movie references. Although intriguing titbits do float about above the fast-moving riffs, interest in any of those topics is entirely unnecessary, since most of the vocals by Bone come quickly, compete with the instrumentals, and are not all that clear to begin with.

Just so it’s explicit, that is a complaint about the vocals. I wish they would do a bit more, because they just growl along dryly at a very even ebb throughout most of the songs, even if the variety shown in vocal pacing actually gives them back a bit of surprise value. On the other hand, the extra features slipped in, such as fake choral parts in 'Cannibalise Me' and some higher yells on 'Voodoo Challenge Ritual', placate me slightly. But I have no such complaints with the way that the music is constructed, in the first place due to consistently interesting arrangements across a set of 3 to 4 minute songs, and largely due to the excellent level of riffing maintained for the course of 40 minutes. In this regard, I get frequent reminders of the more vital releases by The Haunted and even Torture Squad, whereby the hookiness of the patterns does not preclude their grooviness and occasional brutality. 'Dead Man’s Shoes', 'Clandestine Corpse Concealment', 'Arithmophobia': all these have seeped into my brain very easily and produce a beautiful blur of momentum when I’m listening. These songs are not mere riff fests either, as the unusual electronic breakdown of 'Dead Man’s Shoes' exhibits.

The alternate exposure to EBT’s curious ways of thinking and clinical riffing chops easily keeps the whole album diverting, no particular track taking away from the overall experience nor significantly exceeding the standards set elsewhere. It reminds me of recent listens by Bulletbelt and Mother Of All, but the sense of fun means Number Two may end up finding a slightly different target. As I said at the beginning, this pales slightly in my estimation for having listened to a lot of relatively similar music, though the energetic instrumental performances allow plenty of replay value, while the dry vocals could be a limiting factor. Also, it’s worth noting that I found the album sounded significantly better when listening with earphones, when the levels were easier to distinguish and the hooks shone through more vibrantly. I’m not sure whether this just signals the start of a hearing problem, but anyway, I got used to the taste in the end.

Originally written for The Metal Observer -