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Brainsqueezed

Scarred

Review by Gary Hill

This act is apparently being billed as alternative rock, but also progressive rock. That might be part of the sort of disconnected effect of the disc right there. The first batch of songs all have male lead vocals (Marcello Vieira). while the last two feature female vocals (Audrey Karrasch). That in itself lends a bit of a strange fit, but it goes deeper. The music on the first group of tunes really lands in an alternative rock sound that's informed by blues rock, metal and such. It's all hard rocking, even though it has mellower sections. Those final two pieces are both progressive rock based. While both sides of the coin work pretty well by themselves, it feels like two different acts. Personally, I prefer the proggier part of the album at the end, but both sides are effective. I'm just not sure it wouldn't have worked better to expand the sound on those last two pieces into more tracks and release it as two different albums, perhaps under different project names.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sailors
There is a driving kind of vibe to this piece. The vocals are bit too theatrical for my tastes early, but as the music gets electrified, the arrangement seems to grow into them. There are some intriguing changes built into this rocker. It gets some metal edges further down the road as the vocals really soar. This is a real powerhouse introduction to the set.
Pentothal
This cut powers in with a real metallic edge on its opening riff. It drops back to a mellower alternative rock vibe for the introduction of the vocals. This piece also gets a bit theatrical, but in more of an almost art rock way. This has some particularly powerful hard rocking moments, too. There are some cool proggy elements mid-track, too. This piece is another packed full of changes and varying moods. I dig the almost Zeppelin-like instrumental break.
In the Night
I love the almost metal edge to this piece, too. The alternative rocking drive on this is classy, too. This gets screaming hot later and definitely qualifies as heavy metal in that movement. It drops to the song proper from there.
Razor Blade
Keyboards accompany the vocals in a stripped down, but rather odd, arrangement as the cut opens and grows. The cut has quite a  lot of variety and change built into it.
Judgment Day
Sort of an electronic percussive element opens this number. The track grows into a rather dark prog kind of thing as other things are added to the mix. It drives forward from there, getting rocking and powerful. There is a real epic vibe to the piece that is also quite proggy. This gets fierce and rocking with some killer guitar riffing, but drops back down from there. It shifts to the vocal movement with a bit of a drop back. They fire it back out after a time. This has both alternative rock and metal elements at play. There is another rather Zeppelin-like break later, but that gives way to some seriously funky bass work. The cut uses that backdrop to shift out to an almost Dream Theater-like section before dropping back down for a new mellower motif. That section is also quite prog-rock like.
Grave
A mellower motif opens this, and the cut grows out gradually from there. It has a moody vibe, but also hints of things like The Beatles. The cut begins to gain intensity and power as it continues to evolve. A powerhouse harder rocking section takes control later, leaning toward metallic zones as it does.
Her Cat
An electronic percussive groove brings this into being. The vocals come in over the top of that bringing a bit of a techno edge with them. The number gets into some seriously driving hard rock after this vocal movement. This is another section with some Zeppelin-like elements. There are a number of different sounds and movements here. The cut has a real gritty hard rock edge overall, though.
Bleed for Rock'n'Roll
Starting acapella, this builds out into another screaming hard rocker. There are more of those Zeppelin like textures at play at times. The techno edge to it really screams, too. I dig the dropped back movement. It starts with the rhythm section and some cool guitar soloing comes over the top of it. This tune has some bluesy harmonica later, too. The closing movement really has a funky blues rock thing down with a lot of style.
Black Rain
A bit mellower tune, this has a real prog rock edge in some ways. The blues rock kind of vibe is still present. Overall, this is a rather soulful alternative rock piece. I can hear some hints of the more epic side of Guns 'N Roses at times on this screamer. Saxophone later adds a different angle to the piece. This is really one of the highlights of the set.
Awakenings
With non-lyrical female vocals, if the whole album were like this it would land under progressive rock. It comes in a bit on the mellower side, but really gets rocking further down the road. There is some killer funky bass work at times. The resolution later brings it into more of a Beatles kind of sound. Other than those non-lyrical vocals, this is an instrumental.
Every Night

Piano brings this cut into being. The female vocals come in over the top as the track begins to make its way out. This is another with a lot of progressive rock in the mix. The vocals make it seem closer to a lot of modern female based pop music. Still, this is very much a progressive rock piece in terms of the musical arrangement. This is one of the best songs of the whole set, leading me to wish they had done more like this. The fact is, this track doesn't really feel like the same band at all.

 
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