(To celebrate Independence Day, we would like to drill your heads, and Austin Weber would like to review this new Brain Drill album — and we are both getting our wishes!)
While not the first of their ilk, preceded by Origin and to degrees Cryptopsy and several others, California natives Brain Drill ushered in a new dimension of hyper-frenetic technical death metal upon their unholy birth in 2006, bearing instant fruit with an initial EP that year entitled The Parasites. From there the group linked up with Metal Blade Records for two over-the-top-yet-face-melting albums, 2008’s Apocalyptic Feasting and 2010’s Quantum Catastrophe.
After Quantum Catastrophe the band seemed to drift away, but founding member and main composer Dylan Ruskin announced about a year ago that a new album was in the works — and it has now arrived.
Love them or hate them, Brain Drill have had a big impact on many of today’s bands and players, and with their newest album, Boundless Obscenity, they bring their absolute A game on their first release in six long years. Which isn’t to say the band were slouches on prior releases, more that Boundless Obscenity showcases a group who’ve considerably evolved from both a rhythm-riffing and a song-writing angle than in their past works.
There seems to be a sub-set of technical death metal fans who feel like Brain Drill are an example of excess without substance, but I implore any who may have held that view in the past to intake the much-improved form of the band’s sound throughout Boundless Obscenity. The difference in both quality and start-to-finish consistency might surprise you. Even if the quality comes as no surprise, Brain Drill have never written technical death metal that is neat or pretty; it’s always been clear that they write and play the music they want to play. And this time around, it seems their execution has caught up with their vision, and the results are disgustingly enthralling.
Boundless Obscenity is far more than just the showcase of a band at their peak song-writing level. It also displays a highly refined tweak on the Brain Drill sound that adds a strong orchestral/choral synth overlay throughout the album, paired with a much stronger emphasis on spastically maniacal rhythm guitar work beyond the laser sweeps and super shredding the band is known for. This time around, their rhythm work resembles riffing along the lines of Severed Savior and Deeds of Flesh, a welcome addition to the mainly lead-guitar-focused sound of their prior efforts.
I confess that in the past I always appreciated the influence Brain Drill had on the scene more than I did their music itself. But now, I think they’ve really grown into something far beyond what they’ve shown us before. And the result is well worth checking out and banging your head to endlessly. Brain Drill live, and Boundless Obscenity is bound to cave in your skull if you give it a chance.
Boundless Obscenity is out now and available on Bandcamp. Stream it below.