As a rule, you won't hear folks who aren't into death metal using terms like "chops," "technical prowess," and "virtuosity" in connection with death metal or any other type of extreme metal. Death metal is very much an acquired taste, and those who don't care for it probably aren't going to be looking for the parallels between what a technical death metal/math metal band like Brain Drill does and what hard rock shredders like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Mads Eriksen do. In fact, some Satriani, Vai, and Eriksen fans would no doubt find any comparisons at all insulting. But the fact is that despite the obvious stylistic differences, Brain Drill do have one thing in common with the Satriani/Vai/Eriksen school of hard rock shredding as well as with some jazz fusion and hard bop -- and that is an obsession with chops. Shredding galore occurs on Quantum Catastrophe, an ultra-technical effort that thrives on chops for the sake of chops, speed for the sake of speed, and brutality for the sake of brutality. Clearly, Satriani and Vai (or a jazz fusion guitarist like Scott Henderson) are a lot more musical than Brain Drill, whose Quantum Catastrophe isn't the least bit melodic. But in its own vicious, bombastic, skullcrushing way, this 2010 release is a celebration of virtuosity. The tunes on this chopsfest of an album wouldn't be as difficult to play as John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" -- the very demanding standard that experienced jazz musicians use to scare the living daylights out of not-so-experienced jazz musicians -- but even so, Brain Drill's members wouldn't be able to pull off material this technical if they hadn't spent a lot of time in the shed. The chops-for-the-sake-of-chops approach that prevails on Quantum Catastrophe has its limitations, but it still makes for an exhilarating listen -- assuming one has a taste for technical death metal.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson