Released: 2006, Grindethic Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The Florida death metal scene of the early nineties that spawned bands like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Morbid Angel has been highly influential not just on U.S. turf but also globally. Fans of early Cannibal Corpse will notice significant EATEN BACK TO LIFE/BUTCHERED AT BIRTH influence on SMASHED BRAIN COLLECTION, the latest CD from Bulgaria’s Enthrallment (yes, Bulgaria!). The vocals of Plam Bakardjiev rarely waver from Chris Barnes-styled guttural roars and like Alex Webster, the bass guitar of Lachez Todorov is featured prominently in the final mix. Even the riffs of Chris Hristov are spiked with lots of squeals, while Ivo Ivanov reacts with frenzied blasting and bottom end grooves throughout. Lyrically, the focus is on zombies, death, bloodshed and necrophilia. Sound familiar? Mmm hmm. Some will be on the fence whether SMASHED BRAIN COLLECTION is an homage or a blatant rip-off of early Cannibal Corpse but whatever side you’re on, this is a solid death metal album that isn’t afraid to wear its influence on its tattered, blood-soaked sleeve.
The tempos and song structures remain typically similar throughout the CD with little variance. That is where SMASHED BRAIN COLLECTION falters. Even at a scant 31 minutes, redundancy sets in early. This style is known to keep a pretty short leash on its formula and the band sticks to a tried-and-true recipe of old school death metal from start to finish. The brutality never lets up, though, and if pedal-to-the-metal blastbeats, an occasional groove-laden breakdown and gurgled gibberish tickles your fancy, this album is for you but would it kill these guys to throw down something—anything—that sets the songs apart from one another?
As a bonus, a camcorder-shot, 25-minute live set from a small Bulgarian club is included, as well as a music video for “Awaiting The Death,” which is, not surprisingly, one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Anyone looking for something new or exciting had better skip Enthrallment’s SMASHED BRAIN COLLECTION. The band gets lost in its worship of bands like Cannibal Corpse and Obituary and delivers an album that would have sounded fresh in 1992 but seems quite dated in 2007. That aside, SMASHED BRAIN COLLECTION is a pretty decent CD that unleashes plenty of brutality, slicing guitar riffs and chest-rumbling drums.
KILLER KUTS: “Carnal Affection,” “Experiment With You,” “Mutant,” “Graveyard,” “Awaiting The Death”