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Brain Damage - Born To Lose... Live To Win

Brain Damage
Born To Lose... Live To Win
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 08 May 2014, 8:54 AM

Anyone who knows me and my mettle will know that – “Brain Damage”  – the second and last album on Noise Records by Germany's own VENDETTA is my favorite album of all time! You can only imagine my exhilaration when I discovered that two original members had come together to champion their music of the past by calling themselves, well: BRAIN DAMAGE.

Klaus “Heiner” Ulrch is the only one original member of the classic line-up who still today continues with VENDETTA, but their newer albums are so modern and lacking of that essence that made “Brain Damage” and
 “Go And Live…Stay And Die” so unique and truly original. When I interviewed Charly Steinhauer from  PARADOX awhile ago, I was surprised to discover that he was working with Achim "Daxx" Hömerlein to help him write the lyrics for “Tales Of The Weird”. He also informed me that he was writing with his old band mate Michael "Micky" Wehner for a new project which would pay homage to the essential VENDETTA sound. In fact, present PARADOX drummer Daniel Buld (Evil Ewald) even joined the fold.

So there you have it, after years off and on the road, the formula of early era '80s VENDETTA angst and PARADOX pre-“Product Of The Imagination” becomes today's BRAIN DAMAGE. After this album was recorded and released, Michael "Michel" Lorz and Michael "Michäl" Guerra from THE FLESH TRADING COMPANY chose to join the ranks as guitarist and bassist, respectively. In fact “Mickey” even produced their 2012 “River Runs Red” 2012 (EP).

So all this leads to an engaging conversation, and begs the big question on everyone's mind as to whether or not this self-released album is the logical follow-up to “Brain Damage”? The answer to that is, “Yes, and No!” Keep it mind that it has been well over 25 years since that masterpiece, and so much has changed. We have all grown older, and incorporated a bunch of modern Metal influences into our music. Even with the band I work with – THE PORRIDGEFACE – as much as we worship DEATHROW, VENDETTA, and PARADOX, and Teutonic '80s Metal in general, we still make use of the newest technology for which we now have easier access. This is how “Mickey” is able to write and perform the crux of the music on his own.

BRAIN DAMAGE is a system of methodical construction. “Mickey” now obeys the dominant metal law because he is the master of war torn violent riffs, which viciously bite back, as he faithfully trades off with those exceptional, suicidal lunatic leads. His terrorizing, yet unique style of playing will never die! The anarchic “Daxx” is full of revenge, but still knows how to write thought- provoking lyrics which deal with political and social criticism. This mettle marriage of talent is in an of itself a precious existence.

The opener - “Anarchy” - indicates and initiates the revolution command with a riff that truly evokes the passion of the complex metrical conception that is “Go And Live…Stay And Die”. This track is rife with energy, and the catchy chorus concentrates on liberating Germany. Interestingly enough, I wonder if “Mickey” and “Daxx”, and perhaps even “Heiner” were reading or watching an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet when they wrote their debut album. Such suggestions as the title track, “On The Road”, and “Traitor's Fate” are all lines taken from that very play, go figure!

As I dive in deeper, the bombs of “Terrorizer” explode in my head and reignite a passion which could easily become the sequel to “War”. Those ace trademark VENDETTA riffs are ever present here, in spades. “Bite” has a taste of bitterness, but a touch of the opus: “Precious Existence”. The title track touches upon ultra-violence, and deals with the expendable youthful gangs, and their struggles with drugs and corruption. “The Fall” is a departure from the expected style. This track absquatulates from the norm and adds a hint of reggae licks, like what PRIEST performed on “British Steel”. The ambiguous and indeterminate lyrics intimate an onset of civil war, where even the brave man fails.

The full metal racket of “Shooter” rips right through your artery, delivering its hallowed point, seriously conveying Columbine or perhaps even the character Tate Langdon from the first season of “American Horror Story - Murder House”. The instrumental “Arachnophobia” is no “Fade To Insanity”, but it is still black as coal and filled with inflicted hate and intolerance which will shine on through unspoken words. The closer “Revenge” is a vaticination vendetta as foretold by Native America elders who watched the visitors rape their land in the name of manifest destiny. These are the very themes well-known and expounded upon in MAIDEN's “Run To The Hills” or ANTHRAX's “Indians”. This anthem is very epic and evocative with riffs right out of “Suicidal Lunacy”.

So there you have it! BRAIN DAMAGE is not VENDETTA, but it actually is. For an independent effort this is truly an excellent release. “Mickey” still creates awesome music, and “Daxx” endeavors to edify and impress me with his voracity for veracity. Their black magickal talent abounds and resounds. My advice to you…live to win, go and buy!

4 Star Rating

1. Anarchy
2. Terrorizer
3. Bite
4. Born To Lose
5. The Fall
6. Shooter
7. Arachnophobia (Instrumental)
8. Revenge
Michael "Micky" Wehner – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass
Charly Steinhauer – Additional Guitars & Backing Vocals
Member – Bass, Backing Vocals
Daniel Buld (Evil Ewald) – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 09 February 2023

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