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No Brain Cell - Monuments CD (album) cover


No Brain Cell


Heavy Prog

3.89 | 9 ratings

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4 stars I'm not sure if their self-titled album, released in 2013, should be seen as a promotional item ... at least it shows a clear preference on a Porcupine Tree oriented sound, which evidently manifests in two included covers. And NO BRAIN CELL earned the honour to be the opening act for Steven Wilson & Co during a Greece tour in 2010. So, being able to preview their capabilities quite well, this production attracted my attention already. However, let me speculate that 'Monuments' is the first regular album delivered by this interesting band from Thessaloniki.

Just dealing with the obvious first - the cover art referrs to a sculpture manufactored by Swiss-born artist Hermann Obrist. Moreover the band name gives us a lot to contemplate ... well, you should take into consideration that Greece is a country whose people are heavilly suffering from the rigorous European economy. By checking the booklet, they define NO BRAIN CELL as referring to a sociopolitical sarcastic comment. So probably this is somewhat provoking by design, adressed to those who are not able or not willing to realize what is currently happening to that society?

Anyway, apart from that, musically seen this album is a promising affair for sure. While not leaving the path taken in general, 'Monuments' marks a leap forward. All tracks are composed and arranged by Thomas Petrou (vocals, keyboards), who, alongside with guitarist Ilias Papadopolous, represents the band's core since 2009. There are three components at least which make their recepture working fine - it's the heavy progressive rock style, akin to bands like Porcupine Tree, Riverside or Dream Theater, plus melodic and multi-faceted compositions which are really worthwhile - and finally they could bring a bunch of prolific musicians together with the objective to record a strong album.

Starting with the lead vocals - Thomas shares the task with Alessio Kontodimos, a comfortable benefit overall - as for that matter especially let me highlight the irresistible Intermission. The second part of the title track for instance, or the following Man Of Silence are symptomatic for variation approach, for a lot of twists and turns which are worked in. Furthermore - quite genre typical - it occurs that ballads and rocking parts are alternating. Melodies and harmonies are simply enchanting. The particular songs are enriched with folklore elements, jazzy piano excursions, slicing guitar riffs aso. In short - when listening to this album there's no brain cell nor any minute wasted.

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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