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Scatterbrain – Here Comes Trouble

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Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the release of Scatterbrain’s Here Comes Trouble. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person celebrating this anniversary. But if I can get even one other person to do so, this post will have done its job.

Scatterbrain was a wacky thrash band in the early ’90s featuring ex-members of Ludichrist, itself a wacky thrash band. But whereas Ludichrist was merely funny, Scatterbrain took its humor over the top, both lyrically and musically. The band had serious chops and was afraid of no genre. Anything from rap to funk to doo-wop to neoclassical was fair game. One of Scatterbrain’s signature songs was “Down with the Ship (Slight Return)”, a medley of riffs from all over the map. Another was a shredding take on Mozart’s Sonata #3 in C Major. If Frank Zappa had had a thrash band, it would have been Scatterbrain.

Listening to Scatterbrain now is a trip because its sound is so dated. It comes from a time of “fun metal”, in which D.R.I., M.O.D., Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies, Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and Ugly Kid Joe were all likely cohabitants in CD collections. Even Exodus had that goofy Elvis Costello cover with horns. I listened to loads of that stuff, which weirds me out since my metal tastes now have basically zero fun factor.

Did something cultural make metallers lighten up en masse? I don’t ever see metal returning to the anything-goes freedom of that time. That yielded a ton of bad music, but often the bad-ness was interesting. Now metal is so codified and rulebound that bad-ness usually is just bad. A beautiful trainwreck like “Don’t Call Me Dude” would never happen today — much less become a Top 20 hit in Australia.

— Cosmo Lee

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ4ZkZSVkok

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