1. Hello California ~
2. Get To The Choppa*
3. Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers
4. All Of The Songs Sound The Same ~
5. I Am A Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton*
6. Come With Me If You Want To Live*
7. What It’s Like To Be A Singer At Band Practice ~
8. Who Is Your Daddy, And What Does He Do?
9. You Have Just Been Erased^
10. Broo-Tall Song Idea ~
11. Here Is Subzero, Now Plain Zero
12. So Far, So Good, So Let’s Talk About It ~
13. Screw You (Benny)
14. Why? ~
15. If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It
16. It’s Not A Tumor
17. Not So Hidden Track ~
“*” signifies songs which Salty the Beast considers to be the best of the album
“^” signifies Salty’s pick for the least favorite of the album
“~” signifies a skit
Sometime around 2008, As I Lay Dying’s frontman Tim Lambesis had a brutal idea for a side-project: to write chest-bumping, testosterone-fueled heavy metal songs centered around the many quotables of Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, I did have to use Wikipedia for the spelling). Now I don’t know about you, but to me, that just sounds hilarious. Along with Arnold impersonator Chad Ackerman and a number of guest guitarists for solo sections, Lambesis made Total Brutal, a collection of 10 songs (and 7 skits) dedicated to the Governator.
The album begins right off the bat with its standout track “Get To The Choppa,” a Slayer-esque riff on the famous “Predator” quote. The track’s lyrics work just as well as the thrash metal style it is paying tribute to. Unfortunately, this is the album’s high point and it can only go downhill from here-on-out. I don’t quite know how it winds up like this; most of the songs here follow in the same vein of thrash metal combined with a few technical elements found in metalcore. I suppose that Schwarzeneggar quotes can only go so far. Which is really too bad because there are other songs on the album that I do like.
For example, “I Am A Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton” also grabbed my attention (and NOT just for its preposterously long name). This track’s structure runs together very fluently and has more than a few equally heavy and catchy riffs. No sections feel tacked on by any means. Incidentally, Lambesis may be the only person alive who could take this quote and make a full song around it. “Come With Me If You Want To Live” is yet another winner that also pays homage to the sounds of Slayer, particularly in the verses and chorus. Despite being the album’s longest track (a whopping…almost four minutes?! What?!), it passes by quickly and enjoyably.
But then there are songs that just feel especially uninspired and even pointless. “You Have Just Been Erased,” for example, takes little to no chances at ingraining itself into the listener’s mind for after the track has ended, making for an underwhelming and unmemorable listen. Same with “Here Is Subzero, Now Plain Zero.” Almost bereft of any flow or ease when incorporating the quote into a chorus, the track stumbles for a good three minutes of the album. And minus the way Arnold screams out the quote, “It’s Not A Tumor” suffers from more or less the same predicament. It seems for every good song, we manage to get one that is just…meh.
As for the skits, while some of them manage to be amusing for what their worth, they are only worth about thirty seconds of your time each. Some of them fit in with the track that follows them; “Hello California” segues right into “Get To The Choppa” and “So Far, So Good, So Let’s Talk About It” prefaces the reason for Arnold’s anger toward betrayal in “Screw You (Benny).” However, one that might as well not be existent at all is “Not So Hidden Track” in which Arnold suggests tricking the listener into thinking it’s the end of the album. But no, it doesn’t lead up to anything worthwhile to my disappointment.
You don’t know just how close I was to giving this album my recommendation based solely on my large appreciation for the good songs. However, therein lies the problem. The album is inconsistent at apportioning the good-to-bad song ratio. Instead of shuffling the tracks around to a more appealing listing, it immediately unloads its prime material ahead of time and ends up with nothing to end with. The album simply runs out of steam, Bennett.
Note: If you want an awesome Austrian Death Machine song, check out their cover of “Jingle Bells.” Priceless.