Ok so I saved the beast till last. This is the last of the To Live A Lie Records releases I've had to review. This is the latest record from Michigan fastcore band xBrainiax. This was originally released on CD in 2010, but saw a vinyl release in late 2011 and features a huge thirty tracks of crazed grind.
1. The True Religion of Broken Necks
3. Faith Mask
4. No Love Lost
5. Kids Say The Darnedest Things
7. Baptism In Glass
8. Desert Power
11. Candidate For A New Faith
12. We Are The Monster
14. Blatant Localism
15. Rosary Noose
17. Good To The Last Drop
19. The Audacity of Hope
20. Fuck The Swindlers
21. Clandestine Operation
22. Our Thing
23. This Is...
24. Moral Vacancy
26. Trichinosis I
27. Trichinosis II
28. Trichinosis III
29. Friend Request Denied
The opener on Deprogrammed starts with ringing feedback that seems to go on forever, but lays the foundation for one of xBrainiax's longer tracks, weighing it at almost two and a half minutes. Most of the songs here are below the thirty-second mark and this one has a great hardcore vibe to it. There are some subtle riffs in here that could be compared to Slayer, loosely and the vocals are very caustic. The next few songs, including Vigilante, Faith Mask, No Live Lost and Kids Say The Darnedest things, see xBrainiax playing fast! With some clever riffs and screams that become more audible, it's a good listen. The drums and bass are also noticeable thanks to the decent production.
This is pretty chaotic stuff, but then it's kind of expected with an album that last twenty seven minutes, but has this many songs on it. I have to admit; I like the fact that the band can weave plenty of pace changes into their racket, as it shows off their awareness and musical skill really well. A lot of it flashes passed in the blink of an eye though. Before you know it your a third of the way through with barely enough time to get a sore neck. That sludge influence makes itself present again at the start of Decaf and carries through the song. My speakers are struggling to take the low end of this record, as it sounds crushing at certain points.
At the start of Sirens you get a hint of thrash, which is a surprise. I can't write about each song, well not all thirty one anyway. Rosary Noose features some great drum and bass work at the start, before a slow, grinding verse kicks in. Again, for a band badged as a fastcore band, they throw in plenty of slow paced sections and sound pretty effective that way, unless that's what fastcore has become and I've been living under a rock for the past 6 years! They do however, switch back up a gear for Solanum. I think the thing that works so well about Deprogrammed is that, xBrainiax play songs that don't outstay their welcome, with enough variation and texture to keep music fans from all angles, happy. You've got grind for the speed freaks, hardcore for the tough-guys and sludge for the stoners. It's pretty hard to categorise to be honest, even though it seems like I've tried.
Standout tracks in the final third of the record include Our Thing, with it's chunky riffs and crazed vocals. Their singer's vocal performance seems to take a turn during Moral Vacancy, with him sounding more possessed with each word. The three parts to Trichinosis really are just one long song. The order goes fast, slow fast, in short twenty - thirty second bursts. Friend Request Denied is certainly a song title, inspired by the proliferation of social media. Scathing in every way.
Album closer and title track, Deprogrammed is the song that xBrainiax have hinted at throughout the record. It's slow building, like all the best sludge records but always feels like it could explode at any moment. Now, I'm gonna stick my neck out in a huge way and say that this is my standout song of the whole record. I just think it's a great way to end what has been a pretty breathtaking record. The slow groove of the riffs and the crash of the cymbals, pitch it perfectly alongside the vocals, which take a new for against this backdrop. You can't help but drift off throughout the whole eleven and half minutes. This song just seems to get heavier and heavier with each turn, from the very brief mid-paced groove sections, to the ultra slow winding noise, it's ace!
Lucky for you, To Live A Lie are streaming this entire record on Bandcamp. Have a listen below:-
If you want to grab a physical copy of the record, especially a vinyl copy that comes with a download code, go to http://www.tolivealie.com/.
Also, xBrainiax themselves, don't have an up-to date online presence, so your best bet would be to visit their Last Fm page at http://www.last.fm/music/XBRAINIAX.