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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Sludge: Brainoil - Death of This Dry Season

You wouldn't think seven slivers of sludge euphoria could squeeze themselves into a 25-minute album, but today's featured artist is happy to shatter your expectations. Brainoil began poisoning the public in 2000 with their own brand of uniquely brief grime after band members cut their teeth with other endeavors like Stormcrow, Laudanum, and Grimple. Their most recent contribution to the genre channels not only their slimy sludge predecessors, but also the punk scene that has given Oakland a little something to look forward to more than the next Al Davis disaster.

Death of This Dry Season is perhaps the shortest sludge album you'll ever hear, though these 25 minutes manage to leave listeners caked and stunned with feedback and shifting rhythms. The title track boasts a low rumble that grabs you by the hair and shakes your brain into delirium. Guitars rollick through a swamp until a rainstorm hits, causing a slip down a muddy hill. Greg Wilkinson's bass guides us with bouncy hooks until a feedback fadeout gives us time to wipe mud from our eyes.

The murderous romp of Gravity is a Relic leaves behind chainsaw melodies as they echo in backwoods timber. The punk cadence is swallowed by true sludge groove, slowing to a crawl under barbed wire as sweat drips down the backs of the bruised. Opaque Reflections thickens and squares the brief fade-in screech, with wet and dirty vocals balancing Nathan Smith's fuzzy chops. Pit bulls chase through backyards as you shit your pants and welcome the track's abrupt close.

Don't confuse what you're hearing with the pedestrian thrash of Municipal Waste or Lamb of God (I said it). Rhythms ignite on Feet Cling to the Rotting Soil and Crimson Shadows, though the dirt shines through bulldozed pauses and buzzsaw guitars. Ira Harris's drums grow almost militant and Brainoil stay greasy with reverb and gnawed faces. The punk/thrash elements return, but you're too beaten with shrapnel to raise any complaints.

Rising filth and chafed growls set the pace for To Bury the Pages of Existence, which manages to sound far more idle than its 2:10 track time may suggest; proof that time restraints provide nothing but confusion and myth. Death of This Dry Season wraps up with The Beauty of Death, with hollow guitar hum and tub thumps more patient than good parents. Bass sinks and welcomes a spooky fadeout that one can only hope is a gesture of mocking.

Crud-junkies could easily dismiss Death of This Dry Season based solely on superficial properties. Don't fall for it. Think of this as a sludge-punk quickie, providing just enough sluggishness to get you through a brief tour of your couch cushions. If you don't quite feel like getting off your ass just yet, hit repeat... and rub rheum from your eyes before realizing you're due in court in fifteen minutes. These songs bring enough scorch to get you there just in time.

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