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Total Brutal

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Album Review

As a rule, Republicans aren't very popular among metal artists. Metal, with its over the top spirit of defiance and rebellion, epitomizes everything that extreme social conservatives rail against (although hip-hop seems to have replaced metal as the favorite musical whipping boy of the cultural far right). But not all Republicans are drooling social conservatives. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action film star turned governor of California, has represented the more socially liberal wing of the GOP — and he receives an enthusiastic metal salute from As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis on Total Brutal. Lambesis' side project doesn't sound anything like As I Lay Dying; both are metal, but unlike As I Lay Dying, Austrian Death Machine favors thrash of the Megadeth/Exodus/early Metallica variety. However, Megadeth, Exodus and Metallica were never novelty acts — which is exactly what Austrian Death Machine is. Unapologetically campy and goofy, Total Brutal pays tribute to The Governator with lyrics that were inspired by his films. Lambesis is the man in the driver's seat, although Chad Ackerman (of the band Chapter 14) is on board for an impression of Schwarzenegger — and his impression isn't half bad. Humorous tracks like "Come with Me If You Want to Live," "Who Is Your Daddy, and What Does He Do?," "If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It," and "You Have Just Been Erased" have a good laugh at The Governator's expense, but it isn't a condescending laugh — not in the least. Rather, Lambesis' Schwarzenegger parody is obviously the work of someone who is a major Schwarzenegger fan; this 2008 release is a prime example of imitation being a form of flattery. Total Brutal is slightly inconsistent, but on the whole, it is a decent thrash outing that is good for some laughs — as well as some free publicity for The Governator.


Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Designed as an "outlet of pure testosterone and stupidity," Austrian Death Machine is an Arnold Schwarzenegger-obsessed side project from As I Lay Dying singer Tim Lambesis. Seeing the man he likes to call "Ahhnold" as "the embodiment of everything brutal and stereotypically metal," Lambesis wrote a set of songs based on lines from Schwarzenegger's films. Tracks like "Come with Me If You Want to Live," "I Am a Cybernetic Organism, Living Tissue Over (Metal) Endoskeleton," and "It's Not a Tumor" were...
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Total Brutal, Austrian Death Machine
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