Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The smell of Novocain is overpowering as your sweaty hands grasp nervously at the arms of the dentists’ chair. You feel vulnerable and the painfully obvious minutiae of small talk hangs in the air before the masked practitioner sidles in closely to assess the impending procedure. Your jaw is already aching as he tells you to “Relax” and for a brief moment, a deep breath provides a soothing respite of relief. But just as quickly, the sound of the drill—that horrible drill—permeates the air and you feel your skin to start crawl as the dentist leans closer and you can feel every nerve in your body react as metal meets enamel…
Not once but twice does Brain Drill haunt listeners with the all-too-familiar sound of the medical drill on their bludgeoning debut, APOCALYPTIC FEASTING. Borrowing heavily from the gross-out lyrical playbook of Cannibal Corpse, Brain Drill’s musical aptitude is top-tier. Marco Pitruzzella (Vital Remains, Vile) is an inhumanly fast drummer but also technical in his use of complex fills. Bassist Jeff Hughell slays with a seven-string bass that is pushed way up in the mix so every rumbling note is not only heard but felt, as well. Guitarist Dylan Ruskin sizzles with plenty of searing leads and over-the-top riffing that comes out at blazing speed. Even the vocals of Steve Rathjen are diverse enough to separate him from what is typically a one-note performance in this genre. APOCALYPTIC FEASTING is a frighteningly good album that raises the bar for all new bands’ debuts and certainly qualifies Brain Drill as a frontrunner for Best New Band of 2008.
The opening drill squeal sets the tone for a gauntlet of death metal that rarely lets up on the throttle. Flashy guitar runs are endless with Ruskin weaving a tapestry of crushing leads that dazzle and pummel at the same time on “Bury The Living,” “Gorification” and the title track. The melodic intro to “Revelation” defies all expectations by mixing speed and precision with an unforgettable riff. Pitruzzella’s jackhammer assault rarely lets up, either. Whether he settles into a marching tempo (“Bury The Living”) or goes for a full-on maelstrom of blast-fuelled savagery (“Forcefed Human Shit”), his proficiency behind the kit is always on display. For his part, Rathjen pulls out all the stops for a memorable and intense vocal performance throughout. “Revelation” and the title track combine an ungodly growl with horrific screams and shrieks, keeping the vocals from bypassing the trappings of the limited death metal genre. Plucking away at a digit-shredding pace, the bass lines of Jeff Hughell never fail to amaze. According to the accompanying press release, Hughell invented a ten finger tapping technique using a seven-string bass and the result is on par with the legendary Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse (yes, he is that good!). “Sadistic Abductive” perhaps best showcases the overall talent possessed by Brain Drill. The virtuosity is flawless across the board and truly sets a new standard for what can be expected of a band in the extreme metal genre.
One usually doesn’t go looking too deeply for musical skill or technical flair in the gore-grind genre but Brain Drill delivers just that on APOCALYPTIC FEASTING. Speed is one thing but these guys can actually back up the velocity with talent. No one is going to say Brain Drill is doing anything revolutionary here but they do roll out the extremes of death metal in an impossibly addictive package. Any one of the four musicians can be individually heralded for their impressive work here but as a collective, Brain Drill is unstoppable. APOCALYPTIC FEASTING is a must-have release for any death metal enthusiast and a welcome blip on the new band radar.
Now, settle in and “relax.” This won't hurt a bit…
KILLER KUTS: All!