Thursday 11 October 2018

Brain Fragment - Fungus EP (Mikey Ortega)

Labels: Hellasaurus Records
Formats: CD/Digital/Tape (Coming Soon)
Release Date: 19 Sep 2018


1. Trust
2. Too Late
3. On Your Own
4. Enough

It shouldn’t be surprise that hardcore punk and jazz are a great match. Both music genres were really big on the youth during the times. They’re both fast and chaotic. Their beats make your body want to move. And of course both music genres were looked down on by the status quo. When bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Candiria brought jazz influence to hardcore, it took extreme/underground music to a whole new level. It made every band want to push the limit. For a while, many bands doing the Jazz/Hardcore sound, pretty much tried to be DEP jr. But one band from the SGV/IE area some how gave Jazz/Hardcore a breath of fresh air and that is Brain Fragment. Originally, the band was a two-piece that consisted of Dave on bass and Luis on the skins. Their first album, LSD Is Good For You, was a juggernaut of a debut. Luis’ jazz/hardcore/grindcore drumming is like nothing else and Dave’s use of effects on his bass gave Brain Fragment their identity. Now when it came to stepping it up, what did they do? They got beautiful and talented Ash as their new lead singer. For a while, this new line-up has been kicking arse live, in the local SoCal scene and  they have gone on a West Coast tour with Rock N’ Roll Suicide. Finally the dudes and dudette of Brain Fragment have made time to hit the studio and record new music with Ash busting those pipes, to bring us Fungus.

If you’ve been to Brain Fragment’s live shows, you pretty much know what to expect. Now we can bring it home to piss off the neighbours or freak out that bus full of nuns, while cruising around. The first track, Trust just comes in charging out of the speakers. Dave goes full-throttle on the bass, as Luis comes in like a beast with his powerful blast beats and then we finally hear Ash come in with some jazzy vocals, with a mix of Soul/old-school R&B. Think early Aretha Franklin fronting Melt-Banana, but take it to supernova. Things get funky on Too Late. This is a track that makes you want to shake, rattle, and roll. It really has a great hook that just grabs you. On Your Own is a personal favourite and I always loved it when they play it live. It’s a song that brings me back to my high school days listening to 90’s punk. To me, this is a song that goes to show that Brain Fragment can evolve and write a killer tune.  It’s also one of Ash’s best vocal performance. If anything, Ash could be the female Mike Patton. Her range is like nothing I’ve ever heard before and to end “Fungus” is Enough.  Hearing this track makes me feel like I’m in a David Lynch film (like Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks).  Think of a beautiful nightmare. Things may look terrifying, but you don’t want to wake up. Dave’s bass sounds like a total acid trip. For some reason, you would think Luis has 10 arms and I think we can hear Ash do some guttural vocals, which you gotta give her some mad love for.

“Fungus” is definitely a huge step up. It’s really great to hear Brain Fragment progress and still keep their identity. With Ash on vocals, it really gives Dave and Luis time to focus more on their instruments and they really fuck’n own it. To me, this is what experimental music should be about.  It’s taking that risk. Not just play around with different genres, but fuck around with different sounds. Be messy. Be smooth.  Be chaotic. Be disciplined. Be ugly. Be beautiful. Be a fuck’n artist. Each member brought something to the table, which makes Brain Fragment a well-oiled machine.  Words can’t describe how much I love this band and with the “Fungus” ep, it made my heart grow twice it’s size. This ep is why I love music and why I’m a music fan, especially the experimental type. Luis shows that he’s well rounded. His drumming skills are out of this World. He can go from Buddy Rich to Mick Harris in just seconds. Dave's bass is what makes Brain Fragment come alive. The way he brings all these different styles and makes it cohesive is just remarkable and of course Ashley, who was that missing piece of the puzzle to take Brain Fragment to that new level. When I heard her vocals playing along with Dave and Luis, it just sounded astonishingly fucked up. In some ways, it kind of felt like hearing No Doubt or Paramore for the first time. Not that Ash sounds like Gwen Stefani or Hayley Williams (even though I feel like she will soon be in their level), but that she’s a vocalist that sounds like no one else and is totally in a league of her own. For sure, the “Fungus” ep is something that the music scene needs to challenge itself. To not make current music bland. If Brain Fragment keeps up the momentum, I say they’re two albums away from making that classic, which everyone will hold up in high regard. If you want to restore your faith in new music, then please pick up the “Fungus” ep. It will totally open up your mind to a whole different World, that you didn’t think was possible. Be weird. Be proud of it. Embrace it.

I rate this “Five Hitlers Punched In The Face”

You can stream and download "Fungus" below:-

Brain Fragment - /

Thanks to Mikey for writing this review. It's great to have him and his infectious love for music on board again. Go and check out Brain Fragment!

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