Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gigantic Brain - Self-Titled (2016)

Gigantic Brain are back after a long time of silence, and despite being a very experimental act, one might think they're having a little bit of an identity crisis? I know that's odd coming from a man like me, who revels in all things obscure and unique, but I'm not really sure what's going on here. The previous recordings from Gigantic Brain were all very much rooted in a much heavier vein of death metal, but this Self-Titled seems like a reinvention for the band. There are still loads of electronic elements, vocal filters and harsh vocal elements. I see what they're trying to do here, but it seems lessened a little bit. Most interestingly is the inclusion of clean vocals, which I haven't heard on any of their records prior and seems a little bit off-kilter for the band. This is almost as big a change as when Ulver quite playing black metal to pursue electronica. Gigantic Brain were very death metal and were rooted mainly in experimental brutal death, but this... well, this almost sounds commercial. There are even a couple of tracks on the disc that go a little over the three minute mark, which is pretty uncommon for these guys. Even the death metal portion on “Leaking Out Of Your Mouth” sounds more like modern groove-influenced death metal, rather than you know, the kind of stuff they had been playing. Most of the cuts mainly offer a short atmosphere here and there and just add a little more wind to the album, but when we get to “Our Dam” I'm very closely reminded of industrial alternative rock/Nu-Metal acts like American Head Charge or The Deftones. One might really wonder as to what in the hell these guys are doing, but there's no doubt that the music encapsulated here could appear to a big-wig in the recording industry, as soon as he decides that the band be ever further watered down to the point where they literally are just an Industrial/Nu-Metal act and 9/10 songs sound just like the aforementioned. Though I will commend the band on continuing to experiment, this record shows that they are going in a more accessible direction with their music. One thing can be ascertained from the listen though and that's the band want to be more of an electronic rock act than a metal one, period. Even closer “I Fly The Unicorn” uses programmed drums, short acoustics and piano pieces instead of any real guitar influence. It still sounds like Gigantic Brain in some sense and it still has merit, but I think people are going to be more interested in their early work after the band become commercially famous from whatever proceeds this. IwrestledABearOnce showed us that a band can still be as experimental as hell and get signed to a big label, so I think these guys could very much end up the same way. This Self-titled is definitely out there, but it's still pretty simplistic and a little more straight-forward than some of their past work has been. It's not anything I would have personally expected from the band and shows that they're really not sure what in the hell they want to do yet. I really hope they find out, or go back to doing what they do best. Maybe they'll release some more material to give us a better understanding as to what they want to do, because I'm going to admit that I'm kind of lost.

(11 Tracks, 25:00)


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