Rhythm & Views

Austrian Death Machine

Is the world ready for comedy death-metal albums? Evidently As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis thinks so, having recently launched a side project/Arnold Schwarzenegger tribute comedy act called Austrian Death Machine.

Titled Total Brutal, this tossed-off collection of searing thrash- and death-metal carnage--interspersed with banter courtesy of an Ahhnold impressionist--is hilarious and kick-ass at the same time. The intro explains the Governator's motivation, to present "a recorded audio format to communicate some of the deep feelings (Ahhnold) had while filming the classics like Kindergarten Cop, The Terminator, Total Recall ... and The Terminator!"

It helps to be an '80s action-movie buff to catch and comprehend many of the shouted lyrical references. Even if you were born in the Reagan era, though, you can still enjoy pumped-up slugfests like "Get to the Choppa," with its battering-ram drums and Predator-killing guitar riffs. Best song name (and melodic chorus) goes to "I Am a Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton," which sticks mightily to the brain like shoes on a theater floor mined with butter-soaked popcorn and gummy bears. Let's not forget the "Not So Hidden Track," the lengthy introduction of which is continually ruined by studio musicians' coughing and breathing.

Sure, it's ultimately a smart-assed novelty, but Total Brutal proves itself rewarding in terms of pure Conan-quality guitar butchery. Besides, what other CD thanks you "for your time, your clothes and your motorcycle"? With any luck, Austrian Death Machine will be back.

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