Brazil – A Hostage and the Meaning of Life 79/100

What a busy weekend. Friday morning, left for Boston for the weekend. It was really cool, I’ll have pics from that later this week…I was checking my nerdy website statistics to see what pages are linking to me, and noticed that former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp‘s site had linked to mine. I wrote a post a few weeks back about how he’s releasing a new solo album, so I guess that they noticed it, or saw it in their own website stats, all in all, pretty cool. As I mentioned before DOA has gone daily, so my review didn’t go up until Friday…didn’t get a review in for this week, but I’m working on pumpin’ out two before the end of the week to make up for it. Anyways, the CD I reviewed this week was Brazil. I saw them at the 9:30 club with Andrew a few months back, and really dug them. I thought their CD was pretty good, and gave it a favorable review, so again, if anyone wants to hear the CD, let me know and I’ll see if I can let you borrow it. Now onto the review…

My first encounter with Brazil was at the 9:30 Club. This was the first of four bands out of Rainer Maria, Funeral For a Friend, and headliners Coheed and Cambria.

“Brazil.” I thought, “That’s kind of a boring name for a band…these guys probably suck.”

Thankfully, I was wrong in the latter part of the previous statement. Brazil did not suck – far from it. But, with a band name the same as a country – it was sure hard to look the band up on the Internet after the show! Live, the sound was big, complex, and heavy. And fortunately the sound on disc carries much of these live element.

If you could characterize the band’s sound with two distinct elements, it would be the lead vocals and the piercing piano accents. The lead singer’s vocals are higher pitched than what you’d expect to hear from a hardcore band. It did not take long to become accustomed to his singing style because each song is sung on key and with proficiency. The hardcore ingredient is not delivered through his voice but through the grinding guitars and pounding drums. The piano on the other hand, counteracts the darkness of the other instruments and often doubles either the vocals or lead guitar. Sometimes the piano sticks out like a sore thumb because it does not have any distortion or effects processing.

From the commanding piano lick throughout “Io,” the Rush-like intro on “Metropol,” to the call-and-response breakdown between the two guitarists on “Escape,” I only have one complaint worth mentioning. I found the songs very busy and rarely heard a rest in any of the songs. With six band members, it might be hard to compose silence into a song, but there were times when a short silence would be more powerful than all instruments playing at once.

Nevertheless, I thought that A Hostage and the Meaning of Life was a very complete album with much to offer. Now if these guys would only do something about that band name…

Read the review on DOA!


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