Rupturing the air with an exhausting fury of old school bred thrash, Italian metallers Brain Dead uncages second album Menace From The Sickness to escort the senses into a more than decent if arguably expectations filling aggressive escapade. Inspired by eighties Bay Area thrash metal, their name coming in homage to Exodus, band and sound incinerate the ears in a rage of intensively predacious riffing and uncompromising sonic rabidity. Invention and originality is subtle at best but across the eleven track charge it is hard not to be swept up in the passion and adrenaline of the band.
Hailing from Ivrea, a small town near Turin, the quintet formed in 2000 and from the release of their first demo, Rage of Thrash in the September of 2001 were soon making an impression beyond a local fanbase. Two years later second demo Double Face made an even bigger impression soon built upon as the band played the biggest Italian metal festival Gods Of Metal after winning a national competition, the band earning the chance to share a stage with Slayer, Testament, Carcass and many more. Debut album The Deep Of Vortex was unleashed in 2008 with Brain Dead flourishing at an array of festivals such as Hellbrigade Fest, Zone Fest, and Metal Thrashing Mad Fest from then on. The new album released via Punishment 18 Records as its predecessor, sees a line-up of band founding members vocalist Felix Liuni, guitarist Daniele Vitello, and drummer Daniel Giovanetto, alongside guitarist Davide Ricca who joined last year and bassist Alberto Rossetti who stepped into the band earlier this year, sculpting an album with the armoury to take the band to another level of awareness. Menace From The Sickness will not thrust the band to the frontline of thrash metal but should at the very least make their name a recognisable enjoyment.
The Fallout starts things off, the intro a dawning warzone providing an apocalyptic explosion which is becoming a regular beckoning in metal it seems, before being thrust aside by the outstanding Land Of Cunning. Riffs and rhythms are assaulting the ears from its first seconds whilst a stringent groove twists the senses around its bony fingers. A persistent repetitive lure marks the track deliciously whilst the vocals of Liuni make a compelling varied persuasion with a snarl and twang to his delivery that only draws in further an already emerging appetite to match the strength of the charging sounds around him. There is little which is unsurprising or new to the attack but it matters little as the track niggles and erodes defences with skill and venomous intent. As anthemic as a stripper leading karaoke night, it is a mighty start with only its quite hefty length being a slight complaint, something which does grows to more of annoyance across other song as some feel unnecessarily stretched.
The following Eye Of The Cyclone continues the impressive start, intensive energy and imposing weight accompanying the surge of rhythmic rapaciousness and carnivorous riffing. Brain Dead was inspired originally by bands such as Exodus, Annihilator, Testament, and Slayer, bands you would expect and imagine from the ferocious and skilled storms of the first two tracks and from that maybe unsurprisingly the second song again offers nothing which is ground breaking but instead supplies a predation which is fully contagious. Throughout guitars weave an impressive and incendiary blaze of adventure within the tempest to add variety and resourceful suasion whilst the drums and bass have neck and limbs on a rhythmic string from start to finish leaving them exhausted and content.
A great bass enticement opens up Another Way, its menace and seduction soon wrapped in an equally thrilling thick wash of guitar enterprise and rhythmic caging. From the magnetic opening the song settles into a more restrained yet virulently aggressive infectiousness sculpted with great craft and beefy hunger. Though the song never manages to recreate the strength of its striking start it again it makes a full enslavement of the imagination and passions before handing over to Evil Dead. From this point on the album loses the potency it holds to this moment, tracks though still voracious and skilfully crafted beginning to merge into each other without an intensive focus. There is a slight punk breath to this again over long track which catches some attention whilst the gripping drum attack of Giovanetto marks the next up Razor’s Edge before the more than decent melodic instrumental The Mission makes way for Pay For A Better Life to be able to rummage through the ears with another skilfully crafted predatory fire but with creative flames which avoid scorching the emotions.
Though they do not inspire the same heights of enjoyment as the early songs on the album, which is a disappointment which cannot be ignored, every track upon Menace From The Sickness as shown by the title track, as well as the final raucous pair of Final Truth and Total Despair, are sizeable slabs of vigorous lusty squalls of thrash metal to find satisfaction in. Brain Dead have plenty of promise if seemingly not wanting to carve new depths for the genre and their album definitely makes a pleasing confrontation if without igniting any fire, well after the first trio of impressive songs, but in the end you are thinking there is much more to come which was missed upon this album whilst admittedly still fully enjoying its rampage.
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