I was actually quite excited when I heard the trio Brainkiller's new album, The Inflitration, described as a mix between jazz, prog, and psychedelic music. I listen to a fair amount of all of those genres, so I thought it shouldn't be a half-bad listen at all. I retrospect, I suppose I should have thought it over a bit more: when I say I listen to jazz, I don't mean that I listen to the 'high brow' genres. I mean listen to the same stuff everyone hears, such as vocal jazz like Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee, big bands like those led by Count Basie, and some jazz fusion à la Pat Metheny and the Dixie Dregs. I very rarely listen to raw, structurally-loose jazz ensembles for the sole reason that listening to them is extremely taxing on the attention, even for someone whose pretentious head is as far up her own ass as myself.
So for me, a lot of the pieces on this album feel very flat and dynamically static; listening to it is almost a chore in of itself. It's extremely difficult to justify listening to an album when you spend each track watching the timestamps slowly tick by, hoping that with each passing moment that there will be at least something to latch onto in the music. "Pianer" gets very tempting with its great use of syncopated rhythms, "Last Mask" has a few smooth moments, and "Vindicator" flirts with the ballad form ever so slightly. But just when you think you've found something in a piece to latch onto and enjoy, the trio have already started breaking it apart and melting that tiny bit of structure away.
I want to stress that I am not attacking the level of musicianship in this album. It's abundantly clear that Brainkiller are extremely talented musicians, and their music does work extremely well on a conceptual level. This album really does do a good job of musically conveying the concept of this 'infiltration' (I especially liked the creative usage of buzzing noises on "Michaelsketch"). But when it comes down to actually creating music that is enjoyable to listen to, this album falls flat.
Only those with the greatest of patience will find anything of interest in this album. If you can appreciate the raw talent that comes with loose, near free-form jazz music, then props to you. You'll find this album worth your while. If you're looking for an album that will grab your attention and will be easy on your ears, you've come to the wrong place. It's a wonderful exercise in musicianship, but for most people, it won't be much more.
4.5 / 10
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