Do your best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
…alright that was pretty good/bad/I’m indifferent. But, I’m a sucker for them regardless.
Look, I’ve got a few guilty pleasures. Chief among them:
-Lifetime Movie Network
-Austrian Death Machine/anything Arnold Schwarzenegger-related, really.
The first album from Tim Lambesis (of As I Lay Dying fame) as his pseudo-joke side project “Austrian Death Machine” is Total Brutal.
Lambesis set out to write a Schwarzenegger-themed record, and all of the songs (not including the skits/interludes) had to have a breakdown, a circle pit section, and a solo. All of the songs are named for lines in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.
For the full effect, I’m going to list, in order, the titles of each song (but not the skits).
“Get to the Choppa”
“Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers”
“I Am A Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton”
“Come With Me If You Want to Live”
“Who Is Your Daddy, And What Does He Do?”
“You Have Just Been Erased”
“Here is Subzero, Now Plain Zero”
“Screw You (Benny)”
“If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It
“It’s Not a Tumor”
And if you don’t see your favorite Ahnold reference, fear not: Total Brutal has an older brother (Double Brutal, coming later this year on ORPD).
See, the thing about this record is that… in essence, it’s not a joke. One of the skit/interludes is called “So Far, So Good, So Let’s Talk About It.”
Lambesis is talking to “Ahhhhnold” (as voiced on this record by former Destroy the Runner vocalist Chad Ackerman, who has a beastly Arnold impression), and says this:
“I mean, you’re such a brutal dude that when you’re just messing around, it sounds way better than a lot of other bands that are totally serious.”
The thing I love about satire is its inherent purpose (and the fact that people still think The Onion is factually-based. God, I love the internet). It shines a spotlight on a certain subject, putting it up on the pedestal to be lambasted relentlessly. But it’s there to prove a point. Why do you think we can learn more from The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, outside of the fact that they’re wildly entertaining? Their satirical nature puts a different spin on a subject, forcing you to think about it.
It’s the same thing here on Total Brutal. Metal and hardcore is so caught up in itself right now that bands are just recycling the same old ideas ad nauseum and not advancing anything. It’s a lot of the reason my musical tastes have been steered toward more avant garde/experimental projects- anything that sounds new and different. I swear to God, if I hear one more of the SAME DAMN August Burns Red record, I might just puke.
In no uncertain terms: Total Brutal is quite enjoyable.
Maybe it’s just because Lambesis is at the helm in nearly all aspects here (recording/producing/etc.).
For being a “joke side project,” Austrian Death Machine is light years ahead of some of the serious bands in the same genre. It’s not just a joke side project. It’s not a gimmick, or a shtick. There are some truly creative tracks on here. And yeah, you might just laugh. But you are silently listening through an inventive and creative experience and you might not even know it.
Also, humble brag: a couple of years ago when ADM played at Cornerstone, I got to watch their performance from the side of the stage. The band did it right. Lambesis wore a speedo, and had “Ahhhhnold” battle “Predator” on stage. I don’t know if the costumes were specially built but they were torso-up recreations of both characters, and they fought with swords. It alone was worth the trip from Florida to Illinois.
Standout tracks: “Get to the Choppa” “Who Is Your Daddy And What Does He Do?”
Weakest track: “If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It”
RIYL: Metal, hardcore, Arnold Schwarzenegger. As I Lay Dying, Haste the Day, Destroy the Runner.