Brain Drill - Quantum Catastrophe (Metal Blade/Riot)

Opening with a tortured scream and a moment of insanely intricate bass work, Quantum Catastrophe is one of the most complicated and uncomfortable albums of the year.

Brain Drill is all about speed. From Ron Casey's drumming to the guitar and bass work of Dylan Ruskin and Ivan Munguia respectively, the music is absolutely breakneck. This being said, it's incredibley hard to get into a groove with the reletnless fretboard wankery, and it becomes tiresome very early on in this album. Opening song Obliteration Untold is a powerful entry, but second number Beyond Bludgeoned borders on ridiculous. There are moments of killer death metal riffage that are quickly ruined by Ruskin's skillful yet frustrating axemanship.

Vocally, Steve Rathjen is the dog's danglers and his growling is the strongest element of Quantum Catastrophe by a country mile. Mind you, his voice would need to be powerful to take your attention away from the endless barrage of blastbeats and fretboard runs.

With Awaiting Imminient Destruction, Brain Drill take a moment to slow the pace and deliver a solid, crushing death metal riff, but lo! Here comes the guitar again with yet more erratic and unnecessary twiddling. Casey, whilst clearly knowing his way around a drum kit, does little of any real interest. Fair enough, he can produce some blistering speed but after three or four songs of the same pattern it becomes little more than noise.

Imagine someone screaming and running at you weilding a baseball bat with nails through it, then stopping in front of you, tweaking your nose and going "honk"; that sense of confusion happens all too often throughout Quantum Catastrophe. A thunderous riff will come chugging into a song and just when you feel like the time is right to bang your head, Ruskin starts playing silly buggers and twiddles the song through to an unfulfilling climax. 

It's astounding how quickly these chaps can play but fuck me if it's not one of the most annoying things I've heard for months. It's not all bad though; Mercy To None has a great death contempary metal riff, Nemesis Of Neglect has a chunky, Annotations Of An Autopsy feel towards the end and Monumental Failure can't help but be listened to for it's pure speed. Plus, the title track is a 16-minute epic that I would love to see them attempt live (although the five minutes of white noise at the end might be a touch on the dull side).

Quantum Catastrophe will appeal to many due to it's intricate musicianship and complex structures but others, like me, might think it's just a bag of self-indulgent arse biscuits.

Quantum Catastrophe is out now on Metal Blade/Riot