RELEASE YEAR: 2023
LABEL: Big Money Cybergrind
BEST TRACKS: “Memory Leak”, “Exit”, “Brain Wield”
FCC: Some tracks have explicit content.
The rage and passion in Memorrhage’s self-titled release still has its dirty, disastrous cybernetic probes stuck in my brain after listening to it three months ago. The Nü-Metal inspired sounds and highly electronic atmosphere the whole album exudes fits into a niche of metal music I never considered I needed for my ears.
Memorrhage is just a side project done by prolific metal artist Gary Brents. He has been (and still is) a part of Cara Neir, Gonemage, and has been part of multiple other bands over the years. Brents experimented with a multitude of music genres to achieve the sound of Brents’ “tribute to growing up with nu-metal in the 90s/00s” (As stated on Memorrhage’s Bandcamp bio).
But enough about that. Let’s dive into the album.
Each song on this album tells its own narrative. Each is in their own Sci-Fi cyber-hellscape. To start the album off, “Memory Leak” is telling us about a rogue videogame entity wreaking havoc in the digital world through a data leak. Bizarre, I know, but look (and listen of course) to these lyrics:
“It starts with a flicker and an itch
In my dreams and the corner of my eye
Then it’s all over my skin, it’s scalding
A million voices screamingLyrics taken from “Memory Leak” by Memorrhage
And I can’t make them stop
I can see the circuits breaking
It lost its mind to technicolor
Dreams of cloaking schemes”
Memorrhage’s horrid beauty forces itself through your ears and makes you understand the emotion and artistry of pain coming from this odd perspective. The brutal sounds drew me into this track at first and then diving into the strange world building in the lyricism made me go slack-jawed and wide eyed in appreciation of the thought and love poured into “Memory Leak”.
And that doesn’t change throughout the whole album. Each song is filled with love and raw emotion that drives further from your expectations at every turn. In “Exit” the pitter-patter, then builds to explosive vocal screams is so good at exciting me for the ‘boom’ I experience at the beginning of the song every time. Any time I want to feel an explosive force of energy course its way under my skin and into my nerves, I flip on this track and start jittering just at the start.
So… track eight of this album brings us to a particularly heavy variety of instrument and technical diversity compared to the other tracks on this album. “Brain Wield” is listed as the track with the most guest appearances with a total of nine different artists playing a role in the creation of this track.
From Mr. Rager, a DJ makin’ brain ripping record scratches, to a slew of metal vocals coming from Brent’s connections in the industry, “Brain Wield” seems to be the most technically advanced track and I believe it pays off in a big way.
Memorrhage combines Nü-Metal, some glitch elements, and one of my favorite 90’s genres: turntablism. “Brain Wield” also has a few spoken narrative elements weaved in to help tell the story of this song too (you can read a synopsis of it on the Bandcamp page that is linked above).
All of these additions to this one track are wonderful tools to aid in storytelling and don’t inhibit listeners from obtaining the emotional wasteland this album continues to shove into our ears.
The Other “Scraps”:
This isn’t to say the other tracks on this album are lame or don’t have the same pull the previous three do, but the magnetism of the aforementioned tracks are so great that I don’t have enough time and space to dive into what makes each song in this album so sickeningly pleasing to me.
I’ll instead give quick one-liner description for a few tracks:
“Reek” is just that: an offensive odor that doesn’t leave your nose but still leaves you addicted to it.
“Finesse” includes high pitched electronic bleeps and heart stopping pauses leaving my adrenaline coming to jolting starts and stops.
“Utility” has the classic Nü-Metal choruses mixed with hard record scratches and alluring space opera ballad content.
This whole album is a unique take on the Nü-Metal genre and I think it does a great job of improving and inventing new sounds within the genre that might’ve inhibited it from reaching greater renown in the past. The glitch-techno aspects of this album are huge draws to me as it feels like a ginormous Sci-Fi adventure in a gorier version of a “Blade Runner” type universe (but far more interesting, sorry Philip K. Dick).
Memorrhage’s opening album holds great promise to inspire old and new artists alike to return to old, worn-out genres of metal that could use some new sounds and approaches. I am excited to see where Gary Brents takes this project and to see the impact it might have on future sounds in metal.