GIGANTIC BRAIN — They Did This To Me (review)

GIGANTIC BRAIN — They Did This To Me album cover Album · 2010 · Grindcore Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Conor Fynes
'They Did This To Me' - Gigantic Brain (7/10)

Although this enigmatic one-man project began almost exclusively as a cybergrindcore act, Gigantic Brain has since touched up its sound into something that is quite a bit more ambient, melodic, and atmospheric, rather than the obnoxious drum machine worship that plagued their debut. First showing a shift to ambient music with the second album 'World', Gigantic Brain has now developed into something that works much better with my personal tastes. 'They Did This To Me' is the fourth full-length outing by this act, and once again, I am finding myself impressed by what this guy can do with ambient textures, but turned off by the shallow grind elements. Luckily though, there is less grind in his sound than ever here.

If I was going to make a quick comparison to another artist with Gigantic Brain, it would be Devin Townsend. GB's ambient sounds are brilliantly layered with a deep wall of sound that sounds like it is from another world, and although this project still suffers from fairly scattered album structures and a lack of cohesion, the way he layers sounds atop one another is incredible. By 'ambient' as well, I don't necessarily mean quiet textures; there is stuff here that can get heavier, without diving into grindcore. The comfortable middle ground that Gigantic Brain minds is best described as post-metal, and while the drum machine is still cold and dispassionate sounding, the guitars and synthesized ambiance is very well done.

I get the feeling that there is some sort of atheistic narrative here about God not existing and there being no inherent meaning to life, although this is only brought about by the moments of spoken word dialogue; the growls here are utterly unintelligible, so they're best taken simply as another layer of sound, rather than someone speaking. For the sake of the album's ambiance, this is a good step forward, and helps bring about some level of heaviness, without losing the dreamy vibe of it all. There is lots of variety here amongst the ambient stuff, but- as always- my gripe with this album are the grindcore moments. I am not necessarily opposed to grindcore as a musical genre, but here, it does nothing but to throw off the mood of the rest of the album. There are only a few moments here that are devoted to the drum machine blastbeats, screaming, and downtuned guitar noise, so it's more a case of being a slight nuisance in between the interesting material that Gigantic Brain has to offer.

This is a very interesting ambient metal project, and while I still have some things to criticize about what Gigantic Brain is doing here, there are more than enough interesting ideas and beautiful moments to make the less glorious aspects worth it.
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