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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Austrian Death Machine - Total Brutal

Austrian Death Machine - Total Brutal
2008 Metal Blade Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



Not since The Exploited copped a sample of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "fuck you, asshole" from the original Terminator flick on their song "Police Informer" has a Schwarzie roast in music been so hilarious until now.

Perhaps it seems improbable that an entire send-up of Schwarzenegger in metal form would come out of the warped mind of Tim Lambesis from Christian metalcore superstars As I Lay Dying, but ye-bang, like an S.O.D. for this generation with Arnold Schwarzenegger films (and the inherent machismo especially) as the central muse, here comes Lambesis with his riotous and quite slammin' side project Austrian Death Machine.

Lambesis is practical mastermind and executioner of Austrian Death Machine, with a handful of renowned guitarists and producers laying down solos, names like Jason Suecof, who helped make Trivium household names behind the console, and Killswitch Engage's Adam Dutkiewicz, whose behind-the-scenes persona is just about omnipresent.

Using an over-the-top impersonator going by the moniker "Ahhnold" in intercut squabblings, grunts and gut-busting "rawwwwwwws!" on Total Brutal, Tim Lambesis takes cue and rips out thrasher after thrasher on Total Brutal, in the process lovingly torching Schwarzenegger films on songs like "You Have Just Been Erased" (Eraser), "Screw You (Benny)" (Total Recall), "Here is Subzero, Now Plain Zero" (Batman and Robin) and of course plenty of Terminator-raked cuts.

While there will never be another full-out S.O.D., Tim Lambesis gives everything he has from both his funny bone (his self-inflicted teasing about every song sounding the same is dead-on chuckly) as well as his considerable instrumental skills. Speak English Or Die was one of the greats of the original metal movement because it first had the stones to bridge punk, hardcore and metal, and as you examine Lambesis' project, there's a small parallel in the way he riffs both in punk and metal motifs ("Get to the Choppa" and "Screw You (Benny)" being prime examples) that's at least in the spirit of S.O.D. Hell, if you want to quibble about it, Lambesis even tosses in a casual photo collage in the CD inlay exactly as S.O.D. did.

The difference, however, is that Speak English Or Die was remarkably cut in a few days and for the production values of the day it's a masterpiece of thrash, though far from spit-shined. Total Brutal, on the other hand, is almost perfectly polished and could stand on its head as a thrash revival piece from Skeletonwitch or Fueled By Fire, minus the roaring send-up factor.

At the very least, Total Brutal shows that Tim Lambesis has more up his sleeves than breakdown sequences and fine-tuned metalcore scripts. As I Lay Dying is one of the best of their ilk, but honestly, how can you resist this silly nonsense that has obviously been gestating inside of Lambesis like a transient resistance leader named Kuato? Total Brutal is a total scream and totally tubular, thrashly-speaking...

Rating: ****

34 comments:

Metal Mark said...

It might have been worth a chuckle oh about 17-18 years ago. Now it's way past being very funny. Just beating a dead horse set to generic thrash.

DPTH International said...

I've been a huge fan of As I Lay Dying for years, so when I found out about this side-project there was no question I would pick it up.

I think it's great, but eventually the dialogue got annoying for me.

I was wondering where the "Screw You Benny" reference was from ... Total Recall ... I haven't seen that in years. Thanks for pointing that out!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I guess life's got me so down and stressed I warmed up to its stupidity, or it's just the fact Tim Lambesis did a very good job handling the majority of the instruments by himself.

The dialogue is so silly, but it's a dumb kinda silly I'm happy to just dive into. Beats being pissed most of the time. Ya, that was from TR, one of my favorite lines, lol...

pure metal king said...

this album is an absolute cracker the music is just amazing of course the arnie stuff gets a little boring after about the 10th time but the music really crushes good to see great music with no hatred swearing or blasphemies in the lyrics well done I say

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