Brain Tentacles – Brain Tentacles (Review)

Brain TentaclesBrain Tentacles are an experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal band from the US. This is their debut album.

Experimental/avant-garde/jazz/grind/doom metal is a bit of a mouthful, and in all honesty doesn’t even properly do justice to the sounds that this album contains at any rate.

In addition to the usual drums and bass you’ll also find synth, piano and horns on this release. But no guitars.

Between them the three band members are/have been in such notable bands as Discordance Axis, Burnt by the Sun, Human Remains, Municipal Waste, Corrections House, Yakuza, Keelhaul and Ringworm, to name just a few. Yes, these guys know what they’re doing.

Vocals are sparse and varied, emanating from two of the lineup as well as an album guest appearance. Like the music, these vocals take many different forms, but are all performed well and do the jobs they are meant to with ease.

This is frenzied, chaotic stuff, (although not all of the time), that brings to mind a maniacal combination of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Atheist, Shining (NOR), Atomsmasher, Ephel Duath, Mike Patton, Primus, Oxbow, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and a whole host of other individualistic, atypical noise-makers.

Boasting a huge amount of variety, interest, ideas and creativity, this album is way better than it probably has any right to be. I find that ventures like this can easily sound disjointed and sloppy, messy or incomplete if done poorly. In the hands of these capable and experienced musicians though, the album has a maturity of focus and shape that can only be a result of the vast talent and skill of those involved.

The songs are very hard to describe in conventional terms, being so varied and made up of a whole plethora of different sub-genres and styles, as they are. It all impressively comes together into a holistic package though, that sounds as if it belongs together despite being quite different.

The impressively played drums and bass form the bedrock of the music, while keyboards, synths, horns and vocals are layered on top as necessary, creating a sound that’s much grander and more fully-realised than you might expect from just three people.

Some of the music is serious-sounding and atmospheric, while other parts are more playful and jolly, as well as pretty much all other stops in the middle being visited along the way.

Well this is an unexpected treat. Way better than I thought it was going to be, (more fool me for having low expectations), Brain Tentacles have created something really quite special here. It’s always a joy to hear atypical and non-standard music when it’s done well, and this is an exceptional collection of tracks.

Highly recommended.

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