Whoever says that the term excessive is a relative one hasnít really become familiar with the unique and semi-fulfilling world of Technical Chinese Food Metal abuse. Some might point to virtuosic Power Metal outfits such as DRAGONFORCE or Progressive ones like DREAM THEATER to gain a first hand account of extreme technical showmanship to the point of near ridiculousness. But surprisingly enough, a quick visitation to the outer extremities of current day Tech. Death suggests that the aforementioned bands are quite tame by comparison. Resting somewhere near the very ledge where Metal ends and Mathcore begins is BRAIN DRILL, a new band on the scene that proceeds to throw everything at the listener, starting with the kitchen sink, and simultaneously manages to avoid a fatal case of tendonitis.
Rather than being a pioneering endeavor in straddling the divide between songwriting and rapid paced calisthenics, ďApocalyptic FeastingĒ stands as the archetype of blurred, nebulously constructed fits of mathematically precise chaos under the Death Metal moniker that other acts such as DECREPIT BIRTH and ARSIS have been pointing towards. The short and frequently changing sectional structures of the former are combined with the frequent lead guitar fits of the latter, and further merged with a fairly methodical combination of guttural barks and window shattering, murder victim shrieks. In more basic terms, this album seeks to compress just about every trick in the extreme Metal book into 35 minutes of ear shattering, mind scrambling, musical machine gun blasts.
The natural problem that arises here is that, like many other technical blowouts with this much MSG thrown in, is that it tastes incredibly good going down but ultimately never sticks with you. This is an album that is heard, but not fully experienced, and what little experience is gained comes in the form of a fleeting shock value at how amazingly fast and brutal it is. Likewise, the insanely proficient guitar and drum work, manifesting itself in guitar soloing dominating around 60% of the album and varying versions of a blast beat mimicking a minute gun, steals any thunder that would be had by the vocalist and his gore-drenched lyrics. Perhaps it isnít a huge loss as what is going on here lyrically would only pass for 2nd rate CANNIBAL CORPSE worship, but it begs the question of why one would bother at all with lyrical content in this sea of a million notes.
Ultimately, what arises in BRAIN DRILL is a gimmick band, albeit a musical one rather than an image based one. They arenít the sort of act that lends itself to people looking for catchiness or dynamic songwriting; in fact, songwriting is not a good term to use here as each work on here listens like a set of compositions and etudes. Differentiating between songs is not a necessity here, although certain sections within each can come to function as markers of where one is in the course of the album after about 10 or 20 listens. Itís a well put together listen that probably took a ton of work to realize, but unfortunately like all bands that put technicality and brutality before anything else, it gets worn out after a while, in no small part due to the fact that the heavily compressed collage of ideas on here is so saturated that resorting to similar sounding tricks becomes inevitable. All in all, it can be described as a great album, but not necessarily a good one.
(Online May 29, 2010)