DENIAL OF DEATH – Brain Surgeons NYC (Cellsum)
Nothing clears the arterial walls, blasts open the pores, or disintegrates kidney stones quite like a group whose genetic strands can be traced to The Dictators, Shakin’ Street, Manowar, Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom, and Blue Oyster Cult, except for maybe catching a lightning strike underneath a tree on an open golf course. Or so says one of my friends.

Brain Surgeons NYC have been maintaining a dead-stick flight path for well over a decade now so the bloodletting appears to be second nature. The two marquee names here are, of course, former BOC drummer and cowbell pioneer Albert Bouchard and guitarist Ross The Boss Friedman, who probably lays awake nights deciding whether to bold and underline The Dictators or testosterone kings of metal Manowar on his curriculum vitae.

That’s not to say “Denial Of Death” slavishly or gratuitously apes what any of those bands brought to the table though, for the most part steering clear of inspirational touchstones of another time and place like cars, stars, girls, bathtubs, and planets and charting their own path with a blueprint built on Friedman’s hazmat leads and dirt-under-the-fingernails riffing and the telephone-directory-shredding vocals of Deborah Frost, composed of equal parts Joan Jett and Wendy O. Williams. Even when she purrs, she roars.

Frost and Bouchard share digs as husband and wife as well as most of the writing on this album and based on the lyrics, they must have some interesting conversations over dinner. “Rocket Science,” “Constantine’s Sword,” and “Plague Of Lies” all suggest Bouchard may have at least one eye cast uncomfortably over his shoulder at the ghosts of Meltzer, Pearlman, and Moorcock, but Friedman harbors no such misgivings and sets restraint aside. His dexterous twiddling and brutish riffing can be found in all good dictionaries under “over the top.” He should be hooked up to the national grid.

There’s an abundance of stiff upper lippery here that, due to Bouchard’s vocals, suggests “Fair Warning”-era Van Halen, minus the tiresome
nod-and-a-wink hokum of David Lee Roth, like “Tomb Of The Unknown Monster,” which confirms that if you show this band an ass, they will kick it. Sure it’s a formula, but so was E=MC2 and look what a world beater that was.

In “Strange Like Me,” Frost eerily confesses “I’m not one for parties/They’re no fun for me” with no small amount of trepidation while
Friedman steps back from the maelstrom with a spot of Spanish guitar, but it’s only a brief respite before he’s back on the front line fighting the good fight with the rakish “Jimmy Boots.” Real men play on “11.”

Considering their blue blood and a sonic approach which turfs all regard for auditory nerve damage out the window , Brain Surgeons NYC are
conspicuously inconspicuous and in dire need of a minister of information. A plethora of villages and countries lie at their feet waiting to be ransacked and napalmed. - Clark Paull