Hailing from Australia’s own city of churches, Adelaide supergroup Shatterbrain have launched themselves into the to the scene with a release that is anything but holy. Featuring members of acclaimed Adelaide bands such as ALKIRA, Voros, Infiltrator and Mammoth, the bar had already been set by the sheer talent of the members involved. So join us as we dive into the 4 song debut onslaught that is The Shatter Brain Demo.
As the ringing guitar feedback fades in for the release’s opening song Dog’s Water, a drum fill erupts and we’re introduced to what could be one of the most crushing riffs of 2018. The importance of this first track is that it introduces us to everything the band stands for. Groovy, chunky guitar riffs paired with fill laden drum beats form the backbone of a sound that immediately makes you want to jump in a pit and take it out on the poor sucker standing next to you. Vocalist Tom Santamaria’s intense and diverse vocal range howls at the listener, showing no remorse between each shrieking high and guttural low. “Let’s break away and show this world what we can do” screams Santamaria throughout, solidifying the confidence that the band proudly shows in this new endeavour.
An interesting mix of both hardcore and metal sensibilities are shown throughout the demo, making it hard to pin an exact genre or influences. So when I heard the next track and the band’s debut single for the release, Rip the Stitch, I was pleasantly surprised to hear both the metal and hardcore sides of the music perfectly married in the ways I was hoping. Halfway through the song, we’re treated to a breakdown that follows the rest of the band’s mosh driven sound, but it’s immediately followed by a melodic solo from guitarist Matt Disisto that wouldn’t be out of place in a song by The Sword. That in turn is followed by another change to a ¾ time riff that is so left of field from what I was expecting, before returning to another hardcore styled riff. But the band somehow makes this adventurous mix of styles work, which is a massive credit to their musicianship and the now obvious fact that they truly want to create something that has not been done before.
Invisible War is slowly growing to be my favourite track on this demo, partly thanks to the main riff/drum combination that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. The song starts off with a this strangely timed section that repeats itself a few times before delving into a thrashy section that features some of the toughest halftime parts I’ve heard in a long time. Drummer Ryan quarrington showcases himself the most on this track, with interesting drum fills and beats absolutely abundant. The whole song has a very dark vibe to it, before hitting into the chorus section that features a slightly more melodic and melancholic chord progression. Another example of the band showing their many stylistic backgrounds that culminate into the Shatter Brain sound.
The last song on the demo, Discard, is straight up chaos. A definite mosh driven song, this is definitely the one that I feel will go off most live. Featuring plenty of riffs akin to bands such as Municipal Waste and Black Breath, there’s no real surprises hidden in the track. Just straight up punchy and catchy riffs for the listener’s aural pleasure. After 3 tracks that showed off a plethora of different styles, it was nice to finish the demo on a note that was straight up. The band breaks into a groovy section reminiscent of Great Southern Trendkill era Pantera at the end, guaranteeing that the heads will be banging from start to finish.
While only 4 songs and 18 minutes in length, Shatter Brain’s debut release The Shatter Brain Demo packs one hell of a punch that will not be forgotten. The lyrics are about real and relatable issues we all face, the music is unique and blends a variety of styles that I honestly was not expecting to hear, and the energy is consistent and honestly convincing the whole way throughout. The production is raw and untamed, but I feel like that captures the energy of the demo perfectly, as anything crisper would make the release lose its grit and feel a little less authentic. All in all, a fantastic first release from this Adelaide quintet, and I’m very excited to hear what Shatter Brain have to offer in the future, and so should you.