At a time when others are pushing the death metal envelope into realms of technicality and experimentation never seen before, sometimes it’s great to just have a simple dose of riff-drenched heaviness. Coming from a primal angle more concerned with bludgeoning the listener than stoking pseudo-intellectual interest, Brainoil pull no punches.
This is evident the moment the gates open, as the band swing haymakers at the ears with Prelude To Madness. Big power chords and heavy chugs open the album, with a nastily distorted yet somewhat crisp tone, not unlike latter-day Bloodbath. Thick with clash and cymbal, the tribal rhythms of Ira Harris stagger in along bassist/vocalist Greg Wilkinson’s screeching, high-pitched rasps, reminiscent of At The Gates but with a few more mouthfuls of serrated glass in the mixture. Guitarist/vocalist Nathan Smith helps steer the sludgy opener into old-school death metal territory towards the end of a very meaty and head-bobbing soup of proto-metal styles.
Corrosive Ribbons of Light continues this traditionally primitive cadence, d-beat drums and distorted bass providing a Blood Duster feel of grimy, death-inflected rock and roll. It’s not long, however, before thudding palm-muted chugs and gritty power chords bludgeon the fun out of proceedings, in the best and most malevolent of ways. A segue of fuzzed-out bass and clanging drums leads into a breakdown riff that will have chiropractors everywhere jumping for joy, anxiously awaiting new, sore-necked death metal clientele.
As if your vertebrae weren’t cursing you already, The Spectre’s Vile Hand (Shock Doctrine) does what it says on the tin, grabbing by the throat with an addictive thrash feel, an upbeat rocking tempo concocted in a hellishly distorted world of burning amps. Tradeoffs between the high. The piercing shrieks and guttural, rumbling vocals of the guitarist and bassist provide a call-response dynamic above a template of death-doom – and it’s all over in just over two minutes.
Title track Singularity to Extinction keeps the pace on high with a fast but plodding stampede of drumwork that almost feels like a blues number, under piercing screeches and a Dismember throwback old-school riff ensemble. Just when you’re lulled into believing this is some sort of death metal homage album, the band slow things right down to almost funereal pace. The death knell rings on the arena-ready feel, and a thick, heavy, helplessly caustic breakdown riff drenches us in vile, distorted sludge. The further the song gets, the slower and more out of step we become amongst a terrifyingly slow crawl.
Blank Static Void puts a bit of butt-shaking swagger back into the mix, opening with a death-n-roll feel that’d get a toothy grin from Entombed fans. This one strays from the doom metal path toyed with in prior tracks, instead keeping to simple single-string and power chord chugging goodness. While things wane a little in the middle, we’re awoken once more with a thrashier, catchier section towards the end which demands movement of some sort. Nothing too flashy on display here, as with the rest of the album, but it’s damn sure to get the head banging in a live setting.
Following this trend, Recursion Abyss ensures the deathly, distorted blues atmospherics are kept alive in simple but constant motion. A faster section kicks things up a notch with a vocal delivery that’d be just as home with the more savage end of the hardcore spectrum, breaking open into a chasmic breakdown that’d get your mosh-shorts-wearing little brother going in the circle. Heck, we’re even treated to a brief guitar solo to add some pizzazz into the otherwise brutish mix.
Dimming the proverbial lights a shade darker now, album closer Halcyon Desolation (seriously, how great are these song titles?) quickly snaps from a groovy opener riff, to traditional death metal, to harrowingly slowed, harsh death-doom. Shrieks and growls are given greater venom and emphasis in their delivery, howling and barking over the one-two of kick and snare while chords stretch like broken accordions. A hammering wave of slow, methodically crushing riffs pounds the eardrums with clearly screeched lyrics such as ‘Lifeless organisms/Sleepless horrors!’. Ouch, these guys are deadly serious it seems, as the almost soundless snail-paced bass solo would have us believe. Feeling as though that’s where we’re left, a surprise old-school death metal breakdown kicks in and unleashes one final catchy barrage as a last-minute hurrah.
In summation, ‘Singularity to Extinction’ is less a grandiose display of theatrical tech-death or progressive one-upmanship, and more a simplistic but downright fun and nasty foray into old school death metal and doom with a dash of cheeky rock flair for good measure. Grim, nasty, and fun.
STREAM OR DOWNLOAD ‘SINGULARITY TO EXTINCTION’ RIGHT HERE!