The Last Screams of the Swedish Psychopaths
by Chuck Foster

Published in New York Waste

In a lonely place
In a lonely room
Lies a woman
On a bed of blood screaming
"I want cock
I want cock"
--"No Place", Singles Collection

Thus spake the unholiest of unholies, thee band known as Brainbombs.


Brainbombs. From Sweden. Their biggest "hit" (if that's what you call it) was a song called "It's a Burning Hell".


Yeah, well, you can have yer Misfits and yer countless Danzig horror rock cliches ranging from psychobilly to goth, but when it comes right down to it, BRAINBOMBS are the one true horror rock band to ever press a record. No corpse makeup here--we don't even know what the band looks like, let alone what their names are. They make GG Allin look like Frankie Valli in terms of offensiveness. Not convinced? Try this out:

Her mouth around my cock
My gun against her head
Bang and blow her head off
And said
"Hey baby
You look a little pale
Are you sick?"
And I have lipstick on my dick
--"Lipstick on my Dick", Obey

So what's a "brainbomb" anyway?

Apparently, it's the sound inside your head when it gets hit by a hammer, as demonstrated by the album cover to "Urge to Kill". Musically speaking, that's exactly what they are. Crossing early Swans noise repetition with James Williamson Stooges riffage, they beat their songs into your skull until you have no other choice than to submit.

Over the past 20 years, Brainbombs have released four full length albums, a handful of singles, and they've only performed three times. Now as the year 2002 comes to an end, we see their final two releases:

The first is the "Cheap" 12" EP from Load Records, their muddiest lo-fi recording to date (which is saying a lot). The first side is four songs about humiliation, torture and violence in classic Brainbombs style: "Freak Accident", "I Wish I Was Dead She Said" (my fave), "Birthday Baby" and "Cum In Blood".

Side two is a remix of "It's a Burning Hell" by Atari Teenage Riot mastermind Alec Empire. Being a big ATR/Digital Hardcore fan myself, I was pretty disappointed by this as I know Alec Empire can do better. It sounds like he threw this track together in the six minutes it takes up on this side. Nevertheless, the first side is beautiful Brainbombs and worth every penny.

The Brainbombs swan song somes to us in the form of a 45 rpm 7" record from Tumult Laboratories, two songs probably from the same session which produced the "Cheap" EP. Side A, aka "Stigma of the Ripper", features some great slide-guitar work and a pounding rhythm which will make any fan smile. Side B is called "Street Cleaner", and I've got to say, what a perfect way to end a career. A mid-paced trash-rocker, this is one of the best songs they've ever recorded: "With my knife and with my hammer, I killed them all" shouts the vocalist in his signature Swedish monotone as the trumpet blares in call-and-response. (Yes, they have a trumpet player.) "I clean the streets from filth and whores...WASH AWAY THE BLOOD" and the song cuts off. What a fucking great way to end.

See, part of what makes Brainbombs who they are is that we don't know who they are. They could be unshaven overcoated perverts who roam the Bowery of downtown Stockholm, or they could be clean-cut stock-brokers who get together every now and then to feed their fantasies in a Scandanavian farmhouse. The fact is, we don't know and that's what makes it all the more disturbing. Imagine finding out that that friendly co-worker of yours is a serial killing necrophiliac cannibal rapist. Yeah.

So if you've never heard of Brainbombs, which I'm sure 99% of you haven't, and you like delving into the darkest corners of the human psyche, I suggest you check them out. If not, well, I'm sure the new Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park or Eminem album is real hard yo. On the other hand, if you're already a fan, I say you give these two slabs o'vinyl as a Christmas present to the last girl who broke your heart. And bring your hammer.

12" - Load Records, 2001

Sveriges bästa band är tillbaka. Vi var länge oroliga eftersom det stått klart att Alec Empire skulle göra en remix. I värsta fall hade det blivit en skiva med bara remixar med distade trummor och inget nyskrivet. Nu blev det fyra nya låtar på ena sidan och en remix på "It's a Burning Hell" på andra. Då återstår bara den andra farhågan, att Brainbombs kommer att bli omskrivna (och uppskrivna) av den sortens skribenter som tycker att "lyssna på grindcore är som att köra en borr i örat".

Tillbaka till skivan, ljudmässigt låter det inget vidare till en början. Riktigt grisig produktion, men det är något som växer i längden. Det enda som går att klaga på är att texterna inte hörs speciellt bra. Första låten, "Freak Accident", fattar man ingenting av. Sedan blir det lite tydligare med "I wish I was Dead She said" (bästa riffet!), "Birthday Baby" och "Cum in Blood" (härligt smakfullt). Det låter rätt mycket som "Genius and Brutality"-plattan eller "B.L.E.E.D" från Gun Court-sjuan.

Om vi nu går över till remix-sidan är det en blandning av Brainbombs-fragment, noise, Alec Empire-trummor och en sampling av Jeff Dahmer som pratar om sina ambitioner med seriemördandet. Det sistnämnda kunde man vara utan. Trams. Felet med alltihop är att det är för fragmententiserat, i alldeles för små bitar. Det blir aldrig riktigt intressant, inte för att det är dåligt heller - vi blev faktiskt positivt överraskade - men ändå. Att Empire dessutom inte exploaterar "It's a Burning Hell":s riff mer är helt obegripligt. Han blandar åtminstone in liveversionen från "Live in Oslo"-sjuan.

Som slutsats kan man väl säga att de nya låtarna är lika bra som resten av Brainbombs produktion, ungefär, och att Brainbombs absolut inte tappat stilen. Att lyssna på den känns verkligen som att komma hem, riff och den från allt annat frikopplade trumpeten. Detta gör att den känns nödvändig i skivsamlingen, speciellt för gamla Brainbombs-vänner. Alla ni andra kan ju göra en trevlig ny bekantskap.

/ Johan & Lars

(Fat Bankroll)


A new Brainbombs record – celebration is in order for sure, but how to celebrate? What is the appropriate manner? Certainly not something I'm allowed to describe in the Bay Guardian, but you can bet your ass I tried to in my first draft. The Austrian- or Swedish- or whatever-accented gods of sub-Stooge murdercore drop their pants and squeeze out four new songs, all of which sound like they were recorded behind somebody's closet and have yet (after five or six listenings) to yield anything as skull-fuckingly wonderful as "Driving thru Leeds" from a couple years ago's Urge to Kill.

For some reason there's a remix of "Burning Hell" (from their first record) courtesy of digicore cool guy Alec Empire, which is kind of dumb. Still, the first song, "Freak Accident," chugs along on another of their patented incredible, simple, insane guitar riffs, and the record also has a song, "Birthday Baby," that I'm actually afraid to listen too closely to. Can't they leave the babies out of it? Anyway, if you've never been introduced to the Brainbombs' particular sense of humor, you may find their music a little, uh, challenging, maybe, or – as some of those threatened by the overt violence toward humanity (especially women, God help me) in the lyrics do – downright inexcusable. And rightly so in a way. This music is way beyond the general irresponsibility of so much death, black, and whatever else metal because of the simple fact that you can understand every word they say. The violence and imagery of most so-called dangerous metal comes in barely intelligible bursts of wraith-screech or cookie monsterisms. With the Brainbombs the vocals are way up front and delivered in an accent you can't not listen to or miss a word of. This clarity makes them more dangerous than any metal band, or any band for that matter.

In the end what they are doing is a very complex and taste barrier-pushing joke; for some the joke isn't funny. Why it's funny to me (and to other Brainbombs fans) is tough to explain. Maybe it's a joke you're never supposed to laugh at. Or maybe it's because Daddy beat me. Who knows. I think it has more to do with taking things to the extreme, like snowboarding, which is way X-treme. To say the Brainbombs are "testing the boundaries" of what we consider decent is putting too much thought into what's going on. Making fun of what we fear is what's happening here – if you think that's funny, is there a valid reason to have to defend yourself? Screw it, the Brainbombs are the greatest rock and roll band in the world. (Mike McGuirk)