Review by Ryan Murray | May 13, 2020 | Official Facebook
Shatter Brain are a mixed metal band based out of Adelaide Australia, with nods to sludge metal, old-school thrash and hardcore. “Pitchfork Justice” is their debut full length album released May 1st of 2020.
While I’ve never heard of this band, the band describes their sound as being reminiscent of bands such as High on Fire, Merauder, Black Breath and Power Trip. While I don’t know Merauder, Black Breath and Power Trip really much at all, I’ve seen High on Fire live before and I’d definitely agree with that comparison! They also remind me a bit of Hatebreed.
Talk In Fear
The album opens with a pretty up-tempo song that starts off with just an electric guitar with some sustaining effects. At :25 in, the drums come in and then the main riff hits. This main riff is a hook for me, because I found myself wanting to back to hear it over and over again. Vocals on this song range from guttural growls, to high pitched screams and mid range semi understandable vocals. There’s also several spots where the guitars break down into just straight metal and this gives it a really catchy groove!
This song lyrically seems to be about hiding behind political correctness and how we as a society tend to tear each other apart just because of different views/beliefs. We tend to feel we have to hide behind our true thoughts and we feel as though we have to walk on eggshells out of fear of offending someone with our differing views.
We tend to see who can yell their opinion loudest without actually listening to one another and having a real dialogue.
“Biting my tongue so hard, beware
Today, I’ll spit it in your face
We don’t need to see
We don’t need to see eye to eye
We don’t need to agree
But don’t talk in fear
Don’t talk in fear
Don’t talk in fear of judgement…”
Here comes some thrash! The intro to this was oddly almost reminiscent of old school Metallica. Vocals again range from low guttural growls to high pitches screams. The high pitches screams, only at small times here and there, almost remind me of Dani from CoF throughout the album.
This song, to me, seems to talk of how the more technologically advanced we become, the more we seem to be lacking wisdom about how to utilize it. We’re so focused on ‘pointless activity’ and allow ourselves to become enslaved to technology, instead of utilizing it as the tool that it is. In the age of social media, the ignorant seem to ‘stand tall’ while those who actually have knowledge and wisdom are silenced and they feel forced into hiding.
First it was Myspce, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Then of course TikTok. It’s ironic, because with all of this technology at our fingertips, because we become enslaved by it, we’re losing our intelligence every moment of every day.
“All I hear around me
All I hear, verbal cacophony
I see it on the screens
I hear it on the air
I read it in the magazines
I feel it suffocating me…”
This track starts off with distracting voices and builds into a pretty straight forward heavy groove. This track musically has a more straight forward heavy metal groove during the first two minutes or so, and it’s really catchy! Then we go back into more of a thrash feel.
To me, this song is about how no one can seem to have differing opinions on social media without the mob coming after them. The moment we see a post we disagree with, we’re quick to incite the mob with the pitchforks! It’s also about how there are those out there who tend to be on the prowl just to cause trouble as soon as someone expresses their opinions.
We’ve become a society that is volatile and intolerant to anything that goes against what we think or believe.
“By word of mouth I’ll burn you at the stake
Judged by word of mouth
Fan the flames
It’s time for justice for something you may have done.”
This one starts out brutally in your face right away! This whole track is more of a heavy metal/hardcore sound and it sounds strong! This song kind of gives me a Hatebreed feel.
To me, this song seems to be about those of us that make our selves out to be a victim by constantly playing the victim card. Almost as though to be seeking attention.
“You choose to be oppressed
I live life, you’re playing dead
You think that you deserve
Something more than the hand you were served”
This song is a heavy hitter right off the bat. The guitars and vocals are aggressive and strong right away. The vocals flip back and forth between deep growls and high pitches screams.
This song is titled perfectly as this song is about those that choose to sit on the fence and chose indifference over action. It’s also about how many tend to mindlessly and blindly follow the crowd, not giving any of their own though and just spewing out what others say because they want to “fit in”.
“Afloat in the tide of a mindless crowd
All your thoughts are not yours
Just a reflection of what’s surrounding you”
This one starts out with just drums, but soon the guitars come slamming in your face. I really like the guitar grooves throughout this one!
For me, this song is about how we as a society seek to attack anyone who doesn’t conform and subscribe to any certain opinions/beliefs. We start attacking and demeaning those who share their opinions on social media whenever we don’t agree with them. In many eyes, if we don’t conform to their beliefs/opinions, then they belittle anyone who disagrees with them.
“In society’s eyes I live a life without humility
You all call me an animal, I think it’s noble savagery
I would rather be a beggar than to live by your decree”
This one changes it up quite a bit musically and vocally. The intro is quite a bit more laid back! There are also some clean vocals throughout this one, and they sound really nice! I kind of would’ve liked to hear them throughout each song, as I think they added quite a nice variable. The clean vocals kind of give me an Alice In Chains vibe. Towards the end of the track at about 3:48 I also get some black metal vibes.
For me, this song is about the fear of speaking out against what you see as being wrong with society for fear that you will be silenced.
“But my thoughts are trapped inside of me
This is my personal hell
My confined mind is broken on the ground
I silently scream
Silent screams try to escape me
But they’re blocked by a wall of fear
Leaving me to drown in anger
And keep the psycho in chains
Muscles tensing, too much blood in my veins.”
This one is an instrumental track and is 1:06 in length. This track has acoustic sounding guitars and some ethereal sounds building throughout. At :50 seconds, the drums kick in along with distorted guitars to start a heavy and seamless transition into the final track.
Death Goes On
In your face from the start both musically and lyrically, this is a solid final track! This track also sees some clean vocals which add a nice touch to it. This track seems to tie the whole album concept together.
This song seems to say that all the noise, vanity, mobbing against those who don’t agree with us, it’s all just a passing phase, but death is all of our ends. Why waste what short time we have this life with vanity instead of making an actual contribution to life while we’re here?
Overall, I would rate this album at a 3.5 out of 5.0. It seems to be mixed well. I really enjoy the guitar grooves throughout! I liked the cleaner, more melodic vocals at times on two of the tracks as I think that adds a lot more variety.
If you haven’t heard Shatter Brain’s debut album “Pitchfork Justice” yet, please give it a listen!