Brainoil: Death of This Dry Season

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Brainoil: Death of This Dry Season
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Brainoil: Death of This Dry Season
Sludge Metal
20 Buck Spin Records
August 2nd, 2011
Release length: 25:12
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Brainoil is a band that’s been around a while but, unless you like in the area the band resides in, chances are high you’ve never heard of this group before. Formed back in 1998, Brainoil has, over the years, really has not put themselves out there outside their home town of Oakland, California. The group issued two split releases in 2002 and their self-titled debut full-length in 2003, but all of those releases stayed heavily underground through smaller labels where they reside. It’s been roughly eight years since that self-titled release, and now the band has signed with the not-so-underground label 20 Buck Spin to issue their follow-up release, Death of This Dry Season.

Death of This Dry Season is actually a relatively short Sludge Metal release. The album clocks in around the twenty five minute mark and only boasts seven tracks. Of course quantity shouldn’t really be an issue, but rather quality, and this album sounds top notch for the style. The production quality is rather muddy and thick, a positive aspect of the style of music. The guitars sound heavy and rather deep while the bass is loud and rather dominant in the mix. The drums are often well paced and all at the right volume levels, leaving no instrument here to be dwarfed by another, though the vocals are a bit lower and further back in the mix, which is a common idea for the style, performed as a more common rhaspier scream that adds to the overall aggressive sound of the music, especially some of the faster moments and tracks on the release like the title track that starts this effort off.

“Death of This Dry Season” is actually a bit of a surprising song int hat it has more of an early Stoner Rock kind of vibe to the track, but layered with thick, muddy, heavy Sludge Metal. The song does have it’s slower moments, which sound crushing and works well given the deeper music of the release, but the more upbeat sections of the song and the somewhat chugging pace is actually what really stands out, though it doesn’t really do much to brace the listener for what’s to come, and the band doesn’t go back to that once they drop the speed. The rest of the material to Death of This Dry Season seems to follow a more traditional Sludge Metal sense, and not really as intricate as this track and it’s Stoner Rock sound. The songs on here do sometimes have a faster pace, such as the following track “Opaque Reflections”, but these seem to adorn more of a Mastodon style faster pace, though not necessarily worship of any kind but more a simple reference point that will pop in your head upon hearing the song, while still having enough of a unique sound to it.

The atmosphere to this release is more just something that feels crushing and, at times, rather intense. Sometimes you can pick up on a stronger Southern sound to the music, which is something typical to many releases of this style, but that’s more on the slower parts of songs like “To Bury the Pages of Existencew” and “Opaque Reflections”. The only track here that really gives an atmosphere other then crushing and intense, though stronger with a Southern sound to the slower, sludgeir elements then other tracks, is a more rebellious sound on “Crimson Shadows”. The song is much like “Death of This Dry Season”, but rather in a more Punk element with faster music with that strong an influence at the start, but also at the end unlike that first track of the recording.

It’s hard to really talk about Death of This Dry Season because there’s just not much to talk about to begin with. Brainoil do a good job with the album, and it’s really an enjoyable experience with a little extra influence coming from other styles that you can pick out here and there. The slower parts of the songs are your typical Sludge Metal style tracks with perhaps a little more of a Doom Metal influence in the manner the music is played, as well as the speed, but the faster parts are really something to behold and become more of a unique experience from this band. The only real gripe is that much of the album seems to be a bit formulaic in the sense that songs that start fast often last until around the half way point, then go into the slower Sludge Metal sound, and aside “Crimson Shadows” don’t go back into that faster approach. This and the slower parts often sounding somewhat similar and not really offering anything too new or unique to them from one track to another after “Opaque Reflections” tends to make the album a little boring after a while.

But overall, Death of This Dry Season isn’t a bad album, nor is it really a boring one. You can’t help but feel a lack of unique material from track to track in slower sections, but those passages are still pretty crushing and heavy to begin with and suit the more general perception of the Sludge Metal style. If you like this kind of music, Brainoil do a great job with this release, and it makes for an album for that’s well worth checking out. From tight music to a solid production and performance, Death of This Dry Season by Brainoil doesn’t really feel like an album that was worth an eight year wait, being a solid, shorter album, but the kind that doesn’t really impress the listener and leaves you wanting to put somethig else in after a few spins.

01. Death of This Dry Season – 5:12
02. Gravity is a Relic – 4:01
03. Opaque Reflections – 3:57
04. Feet Cling to the Rotting Soil – 2:59
05. To Bury the Pages of Existence – 2:13
06. Crimson Shadows – 3:06
07. The Beauty of Death – 3:46
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Brainoil (Band)
Brainoil (Logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by 20 Buck Spin Records via Earsplit PR.