Quinn The Brain – Bleed Me EP

Quinn The Brain – Bleed Me EP
Release Date: 22/03/24
Running Time: 16:42
Review by Dark Juan

Dark Juan loves his music. I suppose he has to, really, otherwise his writing for Ever-Metal.com would literally just be self-aggrandising bullshit. However, once upon a time Dark Juan was like many young Metal and Extreme Music fans insofaras his gateway drugs were Iron Maiden and Metallica and Nirvana and Sonic Youth and the mainstream of Metal and all the subgenres. We all discovered our love of the One True Faith that way, and anyone who says different is a) a fucking liar, and b) trying very hard to be too cool for school, to impress who knows who. Elitists get right on my tits. There is nothing at all wrong with people enjoying Five Finger Death Punch, no matter how much you don’t like them. And Dark Juan doesn’t, but he would never have a bash at the young Neophyte just setting off on his Quest on the One True Path because they are the future of our music. They will find their way eventually. By all means, be a respectable Elder and steer these younglings towards the more Extreme and esoteric, but never forget that you are an educator and a mentor to our newest explorers of the Extreme, you are not a tastemaker. 

That’s my job. But part of that is the fact that I listen to all genres of Metal and Industrial and a whole bunch of other music besides, and I don’t just trumpet about how my chosen bands are the greatest bands of all time and nothing will ever be as good as them. The richness and diversity of Extreme music has never been broader, and it kicks the arse of modern Pop.

In other news, I read that there is a band in Spain who just binned their lead singer for feeding another member of the band fucking ESTROGEN to make him impotent so he could do the horizontal mambo with said band member’s girlfriend. Dark Juan sat there after reading that article and thought quietly to himself for quite some time, because it was just such a fucking out there way of trying to boink someone else’s girlfriend. I mean, come on, trying to destroy the potency of someone with female hormones just so you can attempt the hunka-chunka with his other half is next level fucking Machiavellian, isn’t it? Especially when you are playing in a band with this person. It got me thinking about just how nasty and unpleasant mankind is, and why I preach love and respect for everyone apart from Nazis because they really do need to be set on fire. Them and Vladimir Putin, and I am no longer allowed to threaten his mother with necrophilia because Rory said so.

OK, that’s off my chest now. Let’s talk about what I am listening to. The Platter of Splatter ™ is revolving rapidly and I am experiencing the sounds of America’s Quinn The Brain, who are named after an all-too-real episode of MTV’s animated show, Daria. Only those of us who are experiencing middle age will remember it. “Bleed Me” is the latest four-track release from this currently two-piece band, and Dark Juan has been a champion of their abstruse melding of Grunge, Punk and Alt-Rock for quite some time.

The account is opened with ‘Bad Friend’, which has been an extant single since last year, but as Ever-Metal.com doesn’t do single reviews anymore, I have not been able to comment on it. However, it is a wounded, aggressive paean to unfaithful, fair-weather friends, ably communicated by the line “I’m sorry, the friend you’re trying to reach is never fucking there”. We have all had them, haven’t we? The tune itself is a hard-hitting Grunge anthem that owes much to Babes In Toyland and L7, and frontwoman Arta Black is at her most savage, barking and snarling in justified anger and misery. Dark Juan feels that the song has been re-recorded from the single version which had a lighter, Poppier edge to it. This new version has been transformed into a vicious and uncompromising beast of a song.

The second offering in this ritual of four is ‘Smile’ and this drops the snotty Punk attitude for a more Alt-Rock sound although Arta is still a vituperative vocalist, rage and disappointment dripping from every single word as a more swirly, jangly guitar sound underpins her close to unhinged ranting. It offers a comforting (if you’re a bit mad, like Dark Juan) sense of light and shade compared to the rest of the EP, both other tunes of which are (‘Burnout’ and ‘Serpent Hisses’) fairly out there rage and sturm-und-drang. Clint Rater’s bass work is excellent throughout – the mix and production of the album giving his low-end pummelling equal billing with the sharp and fizzing guitar work, which Arta also handles.

All in all, even though the music is not going to be the heaviest you have ever heard, Quinn The Brain maintain their status in Dark Juan’s eyes of one of the most emotionally intense bands out there – although raging, aggressive and somewhat bloodthirsty in their wide-eyed, staring anger, there is an underlying sensitivity and vulnerability which Arta ably enunciates in her vocals, which can range from blank-eyed little girl innocence, to full-on riot grrl implied violence, to desolate sorrow and incandescent rage. Frequently within the same song, ‘Serpent Hisses’ being the exemplar of this.

It’s that underlying quality, the vulnerability and the fact that even at their most venomous, Quinn The Brain remain endearing in some strange way, that lifts them from Grunge re-enactors to something truly special. The tunes are all fucking fantastic, and Arta’s baby-doll dresses and Rickenbacker or Fender Jaguar guitars hark back to the likes of Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love. But this isn’t hero worship or just wanting the 90s to come back and for everyone to wear cheap, torn blue jeans, ratty sneakers and wooly jumpers that have seen better days – this is Quinn The Brain dragging the Grunge era kicking and screaming (or at least, blinking confusedly and mumbling something somnolently about how their dads were shit to them) into the 21st century and turning them loose on a musical population that has got used to full throated roaring and a disturbingly increasing level of misogyny in Metal. Quinn The Brain are taking the power back, and as far as Nu-Grunge goes, they are the torchbearers, the standard carriers of that style along with Mozes and The Firstborn, and long may they fucking march!

Dark Juan remains deeply in love with Quinn The Brain and demands that you fans out there make them fucking massive. That is an order. 

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has had no hesitation at all in awarding Quinn The Brain a full-fat, stonking 10/10 for yet another triumph that sends the same shivers up the spine as their first EP did. We need a fucking album, folks!

01. Bad Friend
02. Smile
03. Burnout
04. Serpent Hisses

Arta Black – Guitar, vocals
Clint Rater – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.