I met the driving force behind Quinn the Brain shortly before the world came to a complete stop over four years ago when I saw her wearing a Hands Off Gretel jacket at a show here in Houston. Come to find out, she and I had spoken previously on a Dogs D’amour forum. It’s a small world, and that interaction led me to learn about Arta’s band. They were on the verge of releasing their first EP at the time, the brilliant ‘Open Wide.’ That release was delayed a bit due to COVID turning the world upside down. A few months ago, Quinn the Brain released their second EP which feels like a slightly different beast from their first one. These four songs continue the sonic pummeling of the first though and still hit the mark.

Kicking things off with ‘Bad Friend’ brings a familiar start to the proceedings as this was released as a single a little while back. The music is ominous with a slow rolling bass heavy beat that feels like a sledgehammer destroying everything in its path. Arta Black’s vocals (also guitars) arrive from a dark dimension encompassing a pool of darkness with a haunting quality. This song has really grown on me since I first heard it. The ironically titled ‘Smile’ comes next with Clint Rater’s bass again receiving a lot of room in the mix. The guitar notes cut through the mix like jagged shards of pain with Black’s vocals presented with a twistedness to keep the cautious people away. This song really benefits from a speaker setup that allows the different layers in the mix to unfold. Black’s high-pitched final vocal serves as a perfect ending to this one.

Billy Kimmel has not been mentioned yet, but he does an excellent job on drums across the four songs. ‘Burnout’ starts with a slow and eerie pace before it feels like we are on a boat in danger of capsizing at night as the drums roll and pound in the mix. Black continues to channel a sect of demons to unleash a variety of voices that serve the song perfectly. Her guitar work in the back half of the song adds another dimension and sets up a great finish to the song. Our finish comes too quickly with ‘Serpent Hisses’ starting slowly before Black’s guitars smash everything in their way. Black unleashes a vocal fury here laced with anger, rage, and determination. When the guitar completely disappears, Black’s vocals and Kimmel’s drums slam together. The cacophony of everything comes back together for a final moment that ends this EP and leaves me wanting more songs.

When I reviewed their first EP, I name checked several bands, and many of those influences are also present here. Quinn the Brain really have their own sound though which has led me to limit delving into those too deeply. I think you can still imagine ‘Spine of God’ era Monster Magnet crashing into early Mudhoney via a pool of demons to get close to what we have here. In other words, give this great EP a listen and purchase as we wait to see what Black has in store for us next.    

‘Bleed me’ is available now.




Author: Gerald Stansbury