Monday, May 29, 2006

The Brain Eaters' Greatest Hits Part 1

Well seeing as I have all this time on my hands, I figure it's probably a good time to commit to paper (electrons?) a series of posts that I've had in mind for a while. This one is only two parts, so unlike the last time I did this it shouldn't take me a year and a half to finish.

I shall begin by introducing the titular Brain Eater. Millennia ago this ancient beast, a refugee from a far away interstellar war, crash landed on Earth. Weak and injured by its fall, it has been unable to return to his home galaxy and until this day has remained trapped on our planet. It has gone largely undetected in that time, as the brain eater is an energy being and does not have a corporeal form. However it has been moving among us, seeking the thing that it needs to restore it's strength enough to flee our lonely backwater of a solar system: human brains.

As an energy being the Brain Eater does not physically consume it's victim's brains, instead it merely drains them of all creativity and artistic talent. For this reason it seeks out the most talented artists in the world and feeds on their energy, leaving only shattered remnants of their former selves.

I shall illustrate with a few examples. If one were a fan of the band Metallica, one might say, “Boy, the Brain Eater sure made a messy meal of those guys after the black album!” However, it would be incorrect to say “Man, look at what the Brain Eater did to Gwen Stefani/Green Day!”, as to do so would be to imply that Green Day or Gwen Stefani at one stage had some degree of talent to speak of.

In this series I shall be looking at some of the most spectacular recorded instances of the brain eater ruining a formerly brilliant artistic career.

8. Korn

Korn were never a brilliant band, but they did at one time have a certain raw passion that allowed them to put out a few compelling albums with quality ranging from decent to pretty good. However their recent output has had such a dramatic drop in quality that it is only reasonable to conclude that the Brain Eater, desperate for sustenance after being subjected to three years of indie rock, concluded that Korn (having been around for over ten years now) must have at least something worth devouring in their heads. Lets hope that such a paltry meal is not enough to keep it alive long enough to find another victim.

7. Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time series started out with a hell of a lot of promise. Jordan had a good writing style, an original plot and setting, and a clever knack for handling prophecies and internal references to both events in the book and in the real world, creating a large and detailed world that captured the imagination of many a reader. Sadly he drew the series out too long, and by the halfway point the Brain Eater had already done its messy work, leaving only the sad spectacle of five whole fucking seven hundred page books in which absolutely nothing happens. Curiously enough, he started receiving mainstream attention right about the time of the Brain Eater attack.

6. System of a Down

Their self titled debut album is a genuine classic, managing to be hard metal and have a quirky artistry at the same time. Their follow-ups, Toxicity and Steal this Album, sacrificed a bit of that for the sake of commercial appeal but were still very good. Then came Mezmerize and Hypnotize; in a few short years absolutely everything which made these guys stand out had been stripped away, leaving just another boring nu-metal band. Curse you Brain Eater!

5. The Writers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Like most people the Brain Eater didn't click on to Buffy for a few years, on account of the terrible movie it was based on. Fortunately for us we got four brilliant seasons before it did, at which point it began to nibble gently here and there. I suspect that the Brain Eater looks at situations like this as a kind of 'watering hole', where as long as it doesn't feed too greedily the show stays on the air with new writers coming on every year and providing it with a potentially permanent food source. It wasn't until the final, seventh season when the collective genius became just too tempting and the Brain Eater finally lost all self restraint, gleefully gorging itself on the minds of the writers in a grisly orgy of gluttony. (Fortunately Joss Whedon hid under a desk and was spared.) The seventh season was completed, but with half its plot threads unresolved and a completely nonsensical emotional arc. Afterwards the Brain Eater sat weeping, knowing that it had become an addict but unable to ask for help, having driven all its friends and family away by being emotionally unavailable. Don't be like the Brain Eater. If you or someone you know has an unquenchable desire for human brains, act now. Call Quitline to receive information about brain addiction and to learn how you (or your 'friend', you're not fooling anyone man) can get power back over your own life with the help of friends, whanau and a healthy government subsidy.


andrew brown said...

I have to disagree with the SOAD comment. Steal this album is a throw away album but both Hypnotize and Mesmerize are in my mind resonably good. Not toxicty good but still good nonetheless. I think toxicity is stronger than their self titled album.

What I have noticed, is the guitarists influence on the songs coming through on the new stuff. The I read the singer say "if what I need to do for the sake of the song is not sing then so be it" and the fact that the guitarist recorded the bass on those cd's because he didn't like the real bassists playing, and how he sings a lot more (even as front on their latest single) tells me that it's his band (he treats it like that eitherway) and he basically directs it. I think he's talented, but a bit of a arrogant prick.

A unique band where first listens almost always produce dislike but subsequent listens almost always produce more and more like :)

Jon said...

You're nuts! Steal This Album might have been a throw away, but individually the songs are some of the best they've ever done. It's the only album where they truly hit the perfect balance between heavy and gentle.

Toxicity and the self titled are both pretty good albums and I think preferring one to the other is simply a matter of taste, but I'm surprised that anyone likes Mezmerize/Hypnotize, the lyrics are shockingly bad and the music is mostly formulaic and uninspired. I think I've given those albums a chance but they've failed to grow on me, in fact I think I like them less the more I listen to them.

As for Daron's growing influence, I think it's just him promoting himself more. He's been the primary song writer right from the beginning, and I think he just wants recognition.

Ed said...

You're spot on about the progression on System albums. No doubt.