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Rise And Grind…
MOTHER BRAIN Review + Stream

The New York two piece Mother Brain return with a macerating cut of mince as just one of Mannequin Rein Recordings’ latest set releases for this year. Despite some familiarity with the label, I wasn’t aware of these guys prior to being offered this hefty EP.

Well, I’m aware of them now. Rise And Grind is their fourth release, the other three all during 2012. As they’ve moved from then to this one, their sound has become increasingly prickly. It is a thick and menacing snarl, chewing through the eight tracks in twelve minutes like a nuclear tunnel bore. Their emphasis adjusted to lessen the brainy discord in favor of absolute slab-cracking strikes — pushed further than Straight to Business’ intoxicated grind. You’ll want to indulge in their call to action if you haven’t already, and watch Mannequin Rein like a hawk.

Their general approach may not immediately jump out at you as distinct compared to other acts (Discordance Axis, Cloud Rat or A Scanner Darkly for example) — but this does not lessen the impact. You’ll be staggering, quickly recognizing the material Mother Brain have composed for this 7″ should not be shrugged off. Refining the grind seizures of their quickly sold-out Straight to Business 7″, this new shit rips without remorse from the getgo, but louder and more bluntly heaved than in that slice of wax. If you give it a listen, there’s a peculiarity in between those friction-filled threshings that were not completely transferred onto the new one (particularly “Down The Drain”).

While the trade off is for higher amounts of stupefying blows and slower, squeezing rhythm sections, that subtle cerebral approach phrased between hefty gnawing and fast blasts manages to stand out well even now on Rise And Grind. Their chainsaw guitar tone (really love it) has increased in its traction, and caustic death roars and demolishing drumming fuse into a blown-out grind firestorm that hits both scraping groove bouts and infuriated speed bursts. The production on Rise And Grind brings greater volume, almost a blown-out quality when contrasted to their previous releases, and can almost dull the drums in the more high intensity moments with the bleeding of bass and noise. This might just be a consequence of how fucking loud this is at the core. It’s not a serious damper on things, but it might bug some. Overall, I hear good elements of deathgrind like Exhumed and powerviolence like ACXDC or Magrudergrind mix well inside then band’s trippy cocoon.


“Casual Transition” is the first piece you hear, and it smothers first with feedback, then with wild, crunchy riffs — the more bouncy of which amplifies the effect of the chainsaw tone. Then there are a few moments where the death and Nordic grind traditions explode, ending on a thundering slowdown crusher.

Track two is the promotional one, and it was a good choice too. “King Shitter” keeps throwing in amputated breaks between the opening thrashes and blasts and the deep gravely roars. With this a sudden technical seizure is reached, followed by a very tasty, Magrudergrind-like rhythm that begins to unfold. From here, Mother Brain throw down from hyper thrash into a slower, bulkier series of blows.

It folds nicely into the next song, and I’m gonna say the standouts here are the meatier tracks actually. Specifically, “I Didn’t Sign Up For This” opening flailing hammer-ons and a goregrind-like pit opens for a moment. Snarling powerchords peak through a clamoring feedback after the first forty seconds as a satisfying climax, while the vocals go real deep in the gut. The switch from manic savagery into charged, lunging rhythms is smooth and extremely satiating.

“Turbo Rot” brings a similar staggered lean to it, another song that can’t be missed here. Deadening blows for the crucial first third, followed immediately by a frothing drum blast before upping the pace into grind again. The last third shows the emphasis on haphazard grooves over blind lashing.

However, if you tire of the slower sections, “Coffee Break” brings the thirty seconds of tenderizing you’ll revel in. It’s a little dissonant at first, but cut short for successive, multidimensional bludgeonings that change at a merciless pace.

“Fishhook” continues this slide back into a straight on series of rusted thrusts. It grinds voraciously until the final fifteen seconds, which bring back the rippling slams. Sudden barbs of tremolos thrust upward and transform.

The continued slamming of “Hammered and Pissed” from its beginning are hard to ignore with that ripping guitar. The echoing percussion after the drop out for all but one rhythm into further pummeling is awesome.

As mentioned before, “Sweat It Out” is one of the jutting moments of this record, cauterizing the wax nicely. It grows into feedback, and then slow, bulging rhythms and relatively restrained percussion eventually bring in more textures as the gravity consumes all around it. Seriously a strong seal on an already eerily aggressive grind splinter.

At first I wasn’t sure I believed in it, but Mother Brain bring tremendous energy to this material. Rise And Grind has great staying power in it’s short twelve minute duration, working with a hacking, peeling tone hard to dismiss. This is one of the early pieces of suffocating grind you should get into.

Support for Mother Brain’s grind. It’s out right now for order from the awesome label Mannequin Rein Recordings done up in art by Arnaud De Vallois, in multiple limited colors as well as on CD.

Written By

Scullery master, student of political science, and lover of underground metal/hardcore. Residing on Vancouver Island, whenever possible I photograph and record live/local shows and write about music I enjoy. From 2009-2013 I contributed to the blog Equivoke. I currently curate a new page The Plow Behind You. I play guitar too.

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