Brain Surgeons

Denial of Death

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Well, it's about time. The Dictators and Blue Öyster Cult traveled in the same proto-punk circles in early-'70s New York City, sharing a producer, management, and a general trash-is-good aesthetic, but the strict demarcations between jokey metal (BOC) and jokey punk (Handsome Dick and the boys) grew too wide for the bands to truly come together at the time. Of course, now that it's next to impossible to tell the difference between most hardcore and metal bands, it makes perfect sense for Dictators guitarist Ross the Boss to join Albert Bouchard and Deborah Frost's revamped Brain Surgeons, and the new lineup does everybody a world of good. Ross the Boss has lost none of his grunge-pop chops, and his guitar is all over Denial of Death, making the album sound far more raw and immediate than any of the Brain Surgeons' previous work. The new energy has particularly revitalized Frost, whose spitfire vocals have never sounded so good. Much like BOC, the Brain Surgeons have always navigated a tricky line between thoughtful lyrics that verge on pretentious and wry sarcasm that too many listeners mistake for sincerity, but the balance is largely right on these serious but hard-rocking tunes.

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