SHATTER BRAIN – Pitchfork Justice (Album Review)

SHATTER BRAIN – Pitchfork Justice
Released: May 1st, 2020

Line up:

Tom | vocals
Matt | guitar
Pat | bass guitar
Ryan | drums

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Fans of Metal’s numerous subgenres argued and attacked each other throughout the 1990s and early 2000s as each debated the merits of growled or screamed vocals, or downtuned or melodic guitars. Of course, from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal and British revival onwards, the subgenre one belongs to is increasingly less important. So in 2020 we find ourselves with a band like Adelaide’s Shatter Brain – a band who is just Metal (capital M) with a vocalist capable of shrieking, screaming, growling and (on occasion) opting for a baritone singing style. Opener ‘Talk In Fear’ starts with a series of ringing notes, before launching into an assortment of assaulting riffs that combine hardcore groove and black metal punch. Tom’s full assortment of vocal techniques are on show, including a Mike Patton-esque bellow, with some chunky guitar work making this a serious mosher. The breakdown is killer too.

It delves straight into the thrashy ‘Lorem Ipsum’ (Latin for dummy text), which is one of my favourite riffs on the album. There’s a big chorus too and gang vocals, before a very melodic guitar solo as Matt shows off his licks. The title track ‘Pitchfork Justice’ starts with a doom metal riff, punctuated by some slick drum fills, that slows down the pace but not the heaviness. Tom employs a full and glorious shriek here, switching with a menacing growl. Like the opener, there is a hardcore breakdown that will trigger much headbanging and rejoicing live. ‘Choosing Beggars’, despite the title, is really catchy with more emphasis on changes in tempo and brutal riff. Drummer Ryan really has his work cut out on songs like this, as he moves the band through changes, often linking them with some great tom and double kick work. ‘Fencesitter’ picks up the pace again and smashes the listener between the ears with a slab of punk-infused metal. The solo is a facemelter as well, with some furious tapping and a bit of whammy bar. ‘Noble Savagery’ is a chance for Pat to show off his bass work in the intro. The chorus is more gang vocals in a call-and-response style, with plenty of thrash to the riffs with a real gallop.

Shatter Brain’s ability to move between influences and not be confined by genre templates is impressive, especially for a debut album. ‘Silent Screams’ exemplifies this, with an effects laden guitar intro layered with the bass and drums and a single note lead over the top, that drops into a heavy verse and a chorus that demonstrates Tom’s clean vocals. This is the style to explore further on subsequent albums, with a solo that is less frantic and more controlled, while the riffs syncopate with the drums and bass. The closing passage brilliantly descends into black metal darkness (there’s even a gong), making this the true epic of the album. ‘Life Ephemeral…’ is a nice acoustic led intro to album closer ‘Death Goes On’, which like the early tracks walks up and punches you in the shoulder, calling you to join the pit. It is probably the most catchy song here, a great choice for single/video, and ends the album on a high.

This is an excellent debut album by a band with some great musical chops and demented vocal approach. Worth jumping on Shatter Brain now before they get to Europe and blow up like a certain other band from Byron Bay.

Shatter Brain – Pitchfork Justice tracklisting

  1. Talk in Fear
  2. Lorem Ipsum
  3. Pitchfork Justice
  4. Choosing Beggars
  5. Fencesitter
  6. Noble Savagery
  7. Silent Screams
  8. Life Ephemeral…
  9. Death Goes On

Rating: 7 whiplashes out of 10 
Pitchfork Justice is Out NOW on Wormhole Death Records/Aural Music. Order a physical copy here.
Review By – KJ Draven

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