It Won’t Be Drawn / To You The Answer Is No / Comin’ To Terms / Slash And Burn / T.I.N.A. / One Track Mind / Ask A Question / Scream When You Burn / (This Is) The Dead End / City Of Transgression / Keep Your Delusion Alive / Pointing Fingers / Merch Moralia / Interalized / To This Day / Bright Lights / Dirty Dubs
Cat #: PUM033
Label: Pumpkin Records
From the punksite.com:
Even in the 90’s skacore never had much of a niche. The VooDoo Glow Skulls were about the only band to ever make it big, and their career reached a creative saturation point years ago. That being said, encountering new projects that keep the ill fated genre on life support always makes for a refreshing experience from whatever trends currently fixate the music world. In that regard, my introduction to Germany’s Brain Dead provides a great little escape – even if the band has been ripping up the skacore scene across the Atlantic for over ten years.
So in light of my lack of familiarity, the band’s latest full length, Weapons Of The Weak, serves as an introduction, and chance for me to reacquaint myself with an oft neglected genre. Brain Dead’s basic premise combines the crunchy, thrashy hardcore of Voodoo Glow Skulls with the fierce upstroke of The Real Deal and Keepin’ 6, and moody dub sequences of The Slackers (or those very self indulgentBig D & The Kids Table tracks). The almost hour-long disc ebbs and flows across all three distinct styles with the maturity and experience of a band long since dedicated to their elements.
When at their best, Brain Dead balances all three major vectors. On tracks like “It Won’t Be Drawn,” the vocalist and guitarist powers ahead with his mean upstroke, followed by his sloppy, gritty, and somewhat snotty (hence the Keepin’ 6 reference) vocals. For others like “It Won’t Be Drawn” the rest of the trio belts up some melody heavy “woahs” and throws in a few good rocky riffs and solos. Pedal heavy, bass flooding dub comes into play at three key intervals – “Comin’ To Terms,” “Scream When You Ask A Question,” and “Bright Lights, Dirty Bulbs” – to a certain extent breaking up the album’s long runtime with instrumental intermissions. Consequently, listeners can meet the energy and blistering fingers of following tracks like “(This Is) The Dead End” with enthusiasm rather than exhaustion. The best example of equilibrium between the three lands early on with “Slash And Burn,” showing all the marks of a veteran act.
Sometimes the group goes all out thrash, as per “Internalized” and “T.I.N.A.,” but Brain Dead really asserts the most command while flicking those upbeat rhythms. Thankfully that’s where their fingers spend the most time.
As previously mentioned, Weapons Of The Weak clocks in just shy of an hour. Even for a seasoned act the time commitment feels quite excessive. Considering that most of the essentials surface within the first forty minutes, it wouldn’t be asking too much to shave off a few filler tracks (“Keep Your Delusion Alive,” I’m looking at you) in the name of concision. However, what’s there makes Brain Dead a solid reminder that skacore is still here to stay.