Track By Tracks: Shatter Brain - Pitchfork Justice (2020)


1. Talk in Fear:

‘Talk in Fear’ was one of the first songs we wrote for the album and it came together very quickly. Matt brought all the riffs to the band, we spent a bit of time arranging the structure, and that was it! We chose this song as the first single to release from the album because we felt that musically it best represents the sound of the band at this point in time. It also has a strong lyrical concept which we thought would be perfect for a music video; the song is a commentary on speech control and political correctness in the current social climate, and condemns the tolerance of extreme and exaggerated emotional reactions to actions or comments that are taken out of context. With all the fearmongering and misinformation being propagated on social media at the moment around COVID-19, it doesn't seem like there's ever been a better time to release this song. The video was filmed and edited by Brett Hookham, with excellent acting by Tammi Mortem.

2. Lorem Ipsum:

Like ‘Talk in Fear’, Matt brought all the riffs for ‘Lorem Ipsum’ to the band with a rough structure in mind. We arranged and re-arranged the structure several times so that we could maximise the impact of each riff, especially in the epic middle section, and we are really happy with the end result. We had been holding on to the song title and concept of ‘Lorem Ipsum’ since the demo, and this song seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally use it. ‘Lorem ipsum’ are the first two words of a paragraph of commonly used dummy text that acts as a placeholder when preparing print layouts. It is literally mumbo jumbo and doesn't actually mean anything, so we thought this was a perfect metaphor for mainstream media and blog culture, amongst many other internet-age phenomena. In the age of the internet, any Joe Blow can spread their opinion as fact, and it seems that people feel the need to use and abuse this platform even when they have nothing intelligent to say.

3. Pitchfork Justice:

The title-track for the album (PFJ, as we refer to it) also came together very quickly. Towards the start of the writing process, the band got together to compile and listen though all the riffs that we had stockpiled in our arsenals. Guitarist Jack brought two or three mostly finished songs to the table, and PFJ was the results of smashing a couple of them together in a single jam! This one has a “Seasons in the Abyss”-era Slayer vibe about it, an album that we all love. Lyrically, the song is a commentary on individuals being persecuted by mobs of angry people, particularly online and in the media, without a fair trial and without the opportunity to give their side of the story.

4. Choosing Beggars:

The stomping main riffs in this song were unused ideas from the very early days of ‘The Kraken’ (the project that pre-dated Shatter Brain); however, they were repurposed to create a sludgey, mid- tempo banger that changes the pace of the album. Pat (bass player) makes his Shatter Brain riff debut on this song, bringing forward the riff that formed the basis of the entire middle-section. Finalising the outro of this song was one of the most challenging parts of the writing process for the album. We wanted a jammy, layered outro that we could fade out to end Side A of the album, but the ideas we were throwing around just weren’t sticking. Eventually we came up with the riff (cobbled together by myself) and layers that made it onto the album, which Jimmy Balderston (the engineer that recorded and mixed the album) really brought to life in the studio. Tom’s vocal performance on this song is outstanding as well!

5. Fencesitter:

This song was kicking around from very early on in the writing process but didn’t get fully realised until we laid down the final vocal tracks. For a long time, it felt more like a sporadic collection of riffs than an actual song, but with a few structural tweaks and Tom’s fantastic vocal performance it really came together in the end! Pat predominantly penned the lyrics for this song, describing people who won't make a decision, or put forward their opinion, about anything because they are scared of the consequences, so it is more comfortable for them to sit on the fence. We pencilled this in as the second song on the album right up until we sent off for mastering, but it eventually found its rightful home at track five; what a way to open Side B!

6. Noble Savagery:

‘Noble Savagery’ is another song that was brought to the table by Matt, and that came together very quickly. Coincidentally, the opening drumbeat was an idea that I had been playing around with independently for a while, and when Matt showed me that first riff they complemented each other perfectly. The whole middle section was based around a rhythmic pattern that flowed on from that opening drumbeat, and the breakdown is one of my favourite parts of the whole album. The song ends in a chaotic mess which leads perfectly into the next track…

7. Silent Screams:

Stylistically, ‘Silent Screams’ is easily the most experimental thing Shatter Brain has done. It is a melting pot of sounds, styles, and textures. A majority of the riffs were taken from some of Jack’s archived ideas and were brought to life with input from everyone in the band (even Jimmy whose contribution towards tone, textures, and layering cannot be understated!). Lyrically and conceptually, this song represents an introspective shift in tone on the album.

8. Life Ephemeral…:

This short instrumental was written by Matt about a decade ago and was modified slightly (with some small input from me) to act as a prologue to the last song on the album.

9. Death Goes On:

‘Death Goes On’ is the exclamation point that ends the album and will be the second single released. It is a concentrated shot of metallic hardcore that features (in my opinion) Tom’s finest vocal performance. The basis of the song was taken from Jack’s riff archive and the band worked together to maximise the impact of the outro breakdown. The title is a play on the phrase ‘life goes on’, and lyrically the message is: we are all going to die, so enjoy life while you can!

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