Blast Rites: Brain Famine – Die In The Vortex Review

In all things, balance is key. Such is the case here at Blast RItes, and so, for every disgusting gurglegore offering like the recent Organ Failure, we must achieve parity and a centering of our chakras by covering something on the opposite side of the grindcore spectrum.

Release date: July 31, 2022 Label: Self-released.
Actually, that’s more than a bit of overwrought bullshit. We don’t even know what chakras are. Really, Brain Famine is just the next band that tickled our blastbeat fancy – that’s as deep as we get around here – and more than any spiritual balance, what matters is this: Grind; blast; kick ass; repeat. End of story.

Except there’s just a little bit more to Brain Famine than merely that. So, really, it’s: Grind; blast; THRASH; kick ass; repeat.

And it’s that thrash metal factor that puts Brain Famine on the opposite side of Grindtopia from the goregrind that has dominated my listening in 2022, and it’s a welcome deviation, I must admit, as much as I love my lo-fi gurgleguts grossouts. This Massachusetts-based quartet provides instead a razor-sharp, tech-ish take on death-inflected grindcore that’s riffy as all holy hell and positively goddamned exhilarating. Picture that last frills-free Antigama effort if that band leaned more towards a modern Carcass death/grind approach than to skronky dissonant Napalm Death experimentation.


From the opening HItchcock film sample, “Caustic Dimension” is a masterclass in killer riffery and the power in a tightly wound rhythm section, from its chunky chord-based bits to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it but yet instantly memorable short ascending melody around Patrick Rennick’s formidable snarl. The title track follows suit with more tightly wound right-hand thrash picking, as drummer John Gillis locks in perfect step with guitarists Chris Leamy and Matt O’Rourke. (Leamy also handles bass duties here, and while the bass parts are perfectly sollid, Die In The Vortex is a guitar riff cornucopia, and even as a bassist myself, I cannot drag myself away from that.) Die In The Vortex is sometimes that, a vortex – I start it and I can’t stop it, I’m sucked into its spin. It’s a whirlwind of twisting riffs and ideas, and yet it all comes together into a perfectly destructive whole, clearly well planned and definitely well executed, heavily practiced and devoid of anything more than exactly what it needs to deliver the violence it promises.

So lest this praise-fest drag on too long, the sentiment is clear, but in summation, to say now what I’ve danced around for 300+ words: There’s nary a wasted second on Die In The Vortex, and it rips from start to finish, from that Hitchock quote through the spiraling madness of “Inanivore” to the trudging doomy clunk of “Endless March.” This is Brain Famine’s third release, and their finest (though the others are no slouches themselves, and show a clear progression to this), and it’s an absolute must-spin for anyone interested in some seriously riffy thrashing grindcore.

Hell, yes, and more of this, please…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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