Brainoil- "Death of This Dry Season" (20 Buck Spin, 2011)

 Oakland's sludge metal vets Brainoil may not have as much recognition as some other bands but their 2011 LP "Death of This Dry Season" is a must have for any fan of groove-laden metal goodness. Full of down tuned hooks and memorable licks, "Death of This Dry Season" melds the genre familiarity of Eyehategod and Iron Monkey with a noticeable crust influence and powerful production that accents the band's sound without compromising the approach. The guitars are powerful, the drums punishing, and the vocals are painfully pleasurable. Some of these riffs are sure to be legend, especially those on tracks such as "Death of This Dry Season" and "Dark Eyes of My Past" that creep up on the listener at just the right moment to give the songs the perfect touch. Although their sound doesn't venture too far away from the confines of sludge, Brainoil's songs are well crafted and interesting enough to get away with such a strict formula. In general, this is a fun listen. "Feet Cling to the Rotting Soil," for example, is an upbeat and energetic punk inspired tune that brings the groove at just the right moment. It isn't brain surgery folks, but there's beauty and dynamism in its one track mindedness.

Brainoil began in Oakland in 1998 and released splits with Cruevo and Iron Lung before putting out their self titled debut in 2003. A rather long hiatus in no way deterred the band from writing solid material and "Death of This Dry Season" represents a focused and deliberate attack on the senses years in the making. Now that they are back and in attack mode, Brainoil will be playing Now That's Class on October 3rd as the opening act for Lecherous Gaze. Live reviews of the band's performances suggest sweat, damaged ear drums, alcohol abuse, and enough sticky icky to melt even the strongest brain cells. Consider yourself encouraged and warned simultaneously.

- Joe