Reviewed: February 2009
Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
During an interview last spring, As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis revealed his Arnold Schwarzenegger-themed side-project, Austrian Death Machine, and I thought he was kidding at first. A few months later, it turned out the project was very real and, for fans of Arnold’s movies like myself, very cool. TOTAL BRUTAL was a fun slice of thrashy metalcore that used lines from Arnold’s movies as lyrical and thematic springboards. “It’s Not A Tumor,” “I Am A Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton” and “Get To The Choppa” were hilarious and, indeed, brutal at the same time.
To celebrate the holiday season, Austrian Death Machine offers up a three-song, digital E.P. entitled A VERY BRUTAL CHRISTMAS. Featuring a Judas Priest cover, an Ahnold-ized holiday classic and a track from TOTAL BRUTAL, this is a great stocking (iPod?) stuffer for fans of Lambesis, Arnold and, of course, “brutal” metal!
“Jingle Bells” riffs on the 1996 Arnold classic JINGLE ALL THE WAY and is basically a speedy, metalcore version (complete with breakdown) of the original with Lambesis and Destroy The Runner’s Chad Ackerman joking on the “Ahnold” persona (sample lyric: “O’er the fields we go, breaking vertebrae”). For the Judas Priest cover, “Hell Bent For Leather,” Lambesis plays it safe and doesn’t deviate much from the original. Ahnold and Lambesis trade off vocals with comedic effect and a ripping guitar solo certainly makes this track stand out. Choosing “Get To The Choppa” from TOTAL BRUTAL was smart because it is certainly the best song from that release. Besides its blend of thrash and metalcore, it is an all-around fun song that anyone even remotely familiar with the caricature that Arnold Schwarzenegger became in the eighties won’t be able to help but crack a smile at its treatment here.
Obviously, the appeal of Austrian Death Machine is centered on a very narrow market and a Christmas album even more so. Tim Lambesis is clearly having fun here with a character loved by many and he isn’t taking it seriously, so neither should anyone else. Like its full-length predecessor, this one won’t be burning up the charts but for a few moments of funny-bone tickling, give it a shot. Click over to iTunes and for under three bucks, A VERY BRUTAL CHRISTMAS can be yours.
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