Brain Tentacles – “Hand Of God”

Brain Tentacles – “Hand Of God”

Brain Tentacles is a metal(ish) supergroup, involving Yakuza saxophonist Bruce Lamont, Keelhaul bassist Aaron Dallison, and journeyman drummer Dave Witte. You’ll notice the lack of guitar. This unusual arrangement places them in a surprisingly long lineage of genre-agnostic metal/jazz hybrids featuring saxophones, starting 30 years ago with John Zorn-related projects like Naked City, Painkiller, and Last Exit. The early iterations of this niche usually approached metal by way of grindcore, which explains how these three guys might’ve come to start such a project. Though Witte is currently best known for the retro thrash outfit Municipal Waste, he made his bones as a grind player, and has recorded in oddball Zorn-inspired projects before.

So Brain Tentacles’ first LP fits neatly into this continuum, which means it’s pretty far out there in left field. Historically, most bands from this outré corner project a lot of chaos — playing crazy fast, employing gruesome free improvisation, or switching genres wholesale multiple times a song. Brain Tentacles don’t do any of that; their music is largely structured, and Witte cradles the band in his mile-deep pocket instead of blasting away. Instead of raving and gibbering, they spend much of their time playing straight-ahead metal parts…with saxes instead of guitars…and a lot of psych-rock overtones. So yeah, plenty strange enough in its own way. The effect can be pretty comical at times, as the big galumphing riff that opens “Hand Of God” immediately demonstrates, but that’s all part of the fun — this album features song titles like “Cosmic Warriors Girth Curse” and “Sleestack Lightning”, so the band’s clearly in on the joke. And silly or not, these three vets know what they’re doing. Listen.

Brain Tentacles is out 9/30 via Relapse. They’ll be on tour with progressive death metal legends Gorguts this fall; the dates are below.

10/03 – Brighton, Mass. @ Brighton Music Hall
10/04 – Montreal, Quebec @ Theatre Fairmont
10/05 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Maverick’s
10/06 – Toronto, Ontario @ Hard Luck
10/07 – Cleveland, Ohio @ Agora Ballroom
10/08 – Chicago, Ill. @ Subterranean
10/09 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Cabooze
10/10 – Winnipeg, Manitoba @ The Park Theatre
10/11 – Regina, Seskatchewan @ The Exchange
10/12 – Edmonton, Alberta @ The Starlite Room
10/14 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Rickshaw Theater
10/15 – Seattle, Wash. @ Studio 7
10/16 – Portland, Ore. @ Panic Room
10/19 – San Francisco, Calif. @ DNA Lounge
10/20 – W. Hollywood, Calif. @ The Roxy
10/21 – San Diego, Calif. @ Brick By Brick
10/22 – Mesa, Ariz. @ Club Red
10/24 – Fort Worth, Texas @ The Rail Club
10/25 – Austin, Ariz. @ Dirty Dog Bar
10/27 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Masquerade
10/28 – Baltimore, Md. @ Metro Gallery
10/29 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Voltage Lounge
10/30 – New York, N.Y. @ Le Poisson Rouge

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