Shatter Brain – Pitchfork Justice

3 min read

Band: Shatter Brain
Title: Pitchfork Justice
Label: WormHoleDeath
Release Date: 01 May 2020
Country: Australia
Format Reviewed: Digital Promo

In their debut album “Pitchfork Justice” Adelaid, Australia’s SHATTER BRAIN waste no time in making it quite clear that we’re in for 40 minutes of full-throttle, aggressive, metal riffing. While the band may be fairly new, the band members are hardly new to metal, having come together from other heavy bands from across South Australia. These varied metal backstories may help to explain why this music reveals itself to involve more styles than the thrash metal which is most apparent.

“Talk In Fear” is a blistering opening. Venomous guitars remind me of Gary Holt’s aggressive style of playing with EXODUS, where you can easily imagine he’s fantasising about killing people while he plays. There’s good interplay between the guitars, while the vocals sometimes have a Robb Flynn vibe about them.

The tough guy vocal phrasing that keeps MACHINE HEAD as a reference point can be heard in other tracks like “Lorem Ipsum” and “Fencesitter”, a track that shows traces of PANTERA in its heavy grooves.

After the first few tracks which absolutely rocket along, with great memorable riffs, and big commanding guitar solos, the album dips a little with some less memorable songs, but there are no duds here and every track has enough to enjoy, like the superbly twisted vocals on the title track that comes across like a more gutterral Dave Mustaine, or the cool drum intro of “Noble Savagery”

Where the band’s various blended influences all appear at once is probably “Silent Screams” which starts off with something of “Floods” by PANTERA about it, with some surprising, almost Alice In Chains vocals, that occasionally remind me of KORN. The track draws in death metal elements and then from out of nowhere zooms into a black metal style riff, with leadwork through the track that’s very PANTERA. This might be the most modern sounding track too.

The following track “Life Ephemeral” is a total change, with a grand build of guitars that sound like they could turn into some epic “The Real Thing” era FAITH NO MORE track, but then it just suddenly stops, like the band were trying something out and then decided to just stop. It’s the only track on the album which feels unfinished, which is a shame, because it also seems like something the band could have built into a powerful, memorable track.

Ultimately this is an extremely enjoyable listen. The production is satisfyingly pounding and slicing, with the aggression of the performances really coming through. While the band clearly draws from a range of influences, the thrash riffing is the most prominent feature, with a hardcore streak to it that give a lot of the grooves a crossover feel.

Though the band lacks the full-on melodic eclecticism of a FAITH NO MORE, within the boundaries of extreme metal they are perfectly happy to draw in hardcore or black or death metal (or even nu-metal) influences in a way that fits their overall sound. “Pitchfork Justice” is a welcome reminder that in 2020 you can still have thrash metal that sounds fresh with just enough more modern elements without making it sound forced. And these guys can fucking play, which helps. This band are definitely one to watch for the future. 8/10 Tom Boatman



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