Review: “Pitchfork Justice” by Shatter Brain

There are a few areas of the World that we lovingly refer to as hotbeds of Metal talent, one of which is Australia. Adelaide in South Australia is home to Shatter Brain, a band with a big reputation and not that much music to show for it. Tom Santamaria (Vocals), Matt Disisto (Guitar), Jack Hartley (Guitar), Pat Callaghan (Bass) and Ryan Quarrington (Drums) launched the band in January 2018 with a four-song demo that was recorded and mixed by guitarist Jack Hartley and mastered by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust, Power Trip, Cavalera Conspiracy). That was followed by a split with Blunt Shovel, which featured two new Shatter Brain songs and a cover of the Mastodon classic “Blood and Thunder”. Two years after they started out, it’s now time for their debut full length. Recorded and mixed by Jimmy Balderston at Ghostnote Recording Studios (Scott Kelly, Sumeru, Space Bong) in Adelaide (except vocals which were recorded by Jack of Hartley Audio), and mastered by Dav Byrne at Iridium Audio (Witchskull, YLVA, Space Bong), this is the era of “Pitchfork Justice“.

Opening with pre-release single “Talk In Fear” which is a modern Crossover Thrash ripper with hints of Exhorder influence with some incredible vocals from Santamaria. He’s a major point of difference on the track and the album, offering a series of voices, ranging from a Hardcore bark to a Death Metal bite, all of which sits neatly in a nest of Thrash riffs. Galloping in like a Knight into a Jousting “Lorem Ipsum” has some modernised Megadeth influenced sounds in the riff department while Santamaria shows off some impressive vocal range. The “Waking The Fallen” era Avenged Sevenfold vocal harmony bridge might catch you off guard the first time but it makes for an interesting nuance. Vocally there is so much going on that it’s impossible to catch it all the first few times around the block, you’ll be too busy smiling or banging your head at one part and miss the next, it’s that good. The title track “Pitchfork Justice” is a classic ode to the Lynch Mob mentality, showcasing more of Santamaria’s storytelling capabilities while ripping it up in the riff department, an off kilter solo into a slowdown being a real highlight.

There is more of a split personality with “Choosing Beggars“, its distinctly Crossover Thrash gang chant moments being gagged, bound and beaten by some real Death Metal moments before a fading solo that is so eclectic it could belong on a Jimi Hendrix song. Someone’s indecision, neutrality or hesitancy has clearly got under the skin of Shatter Brain and they turn that into a speeding bullet of a track in the raucous “Fencesitter“, which steps up the in your face attitude and approach. Dropping the band name in “Noble Savagery“, a track that roars out of the gate and continues a highly impressive debut album. The “Bleigh!” moment is unorthodox for a band who are rooted in a Thrash sound but then there is nothing about Shatter Brain that is straight up. Not quite Avant-garde but as close as you can get without being overpowering.

The first clean vocals make their appearance during “Silent Screams” and are so unexpected that they will turn heads because the album to this point has been the polar opposite with the scales of justice sat neatly between Death Metal aggression and heavy end Thrash vocally. It’s used in a couple of atmosphere building moments and underpinned by some buried in the mix screams, all of which work very well in the context of the personal hell themed track, which bursts into Black Metal riffs and blast beats in its final two minute long finale of unexpected glory. After the epic comes the interlude in “Life Ephemeral…“, a sixty six second instrumental that wouldn’t fit anywhere else and is of sublime quality. It sets up the short sharp “Death Goes On” perfectly and passes the torch from the epic grandeur back to the dirtier Thrash sounds perfectly. In “Pitchfork Justice“, Shatter Brain have delivered an album that is interesting and diverse without ever straying so far from the path that it’s alienating. It grabs the bull of their ideas by the horns and rides it like a bucking bronco into town [8.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Talk in Fear
2. Lorem Ipsum
3. Pitchfork Justice
4. Choosing Beggars
5. Fencesitter
6. Noble Savagery
7. Silent Screams
8. Life Ephemeral…
9. Death Goes On

Pitchfork Justice” by Shatter Brain is out 1st May via Wormhole Death with pre-orders available here

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.