Brainbombs, Inferno (LP) Skrammel
1000 copies. 330 with ltd onesided 7″
There are times when it becomes difficult to tell why fringe artists sling their strife – nihilism, ideology or want for attention. GG Allin, Metal Machine Music, The Residents, The Fall, Smack My Bitch Up, the list goes on.
Anarchy for anarchy’s sake.
Deconstruction as a thought process.
Things do tend to be relative. You could make the argument that from an adaptation perspective, vegans are pointlessly transgressive. Just as well as you could say this newfound uprising of censorship and political correctness is fascism poised as social decency.
Some of it has to do with the era in which said art is released. There was a time when Prince was just about the most controversial and ‘liberated’ act around. In 1991, Garth Brooks was in the news for trying to get some domestic abuse convo started around the Bible Belt. Madonna spent most of the 80’s trying to de-puritanize America. Eminem, the Dixie Chicks, Marilyn Manson, Sinead O’Connor, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus have all at one point made headlines for reasons that today seem almost comical.
Regardless of all that, the stiff-necked and left-field nature of a punk lifer looms heavy over Brainbombs. Their wild-eyed run through the 90’s all but came to a head with 1996’ Obey. Mutilation, murder, rape, torture, grave-robbing and every other topic that with a cheekier touch could have made a cracking John Waters flick. The Brainbombs’ steady-handed seriousness as they thrashed through those themes however built a sinister air around them, and briefly, made fire-breathing villains of them in the eyes of God-loving conservatives. That was 20 years ago.
In the end, time proves to be the great anesthetizer. Ed Gein is long dead, his name casually dropped in sitcom jokes. Horror turns to tragedy turns to public domain schlock. Time wears on Brainbombs similarly. And Inferno goes about its business the same way every one of their records has before. Each song kicks off on a shock, peal and clap; distorted, unhinged and fun, like a drunken obelisk. Then starts sagging and collapsing on itself until you can’t tell up from down anymore. And like all their records before, it works more often than it doesn’t.
Truth is, in the open age of terror, cyber-predators, radical Republicanism and fetish pornography, Brainbombs no longer straddle the knife’s edge. What’s left is some brainsick garage noise. They still sound good, urgent and pissed. And that ought be enough.
Then again, maybe it was never ideological or anarchic pot-stirring after all. Maybe it was just Sweden all along. There’s only so much winter a man can take.