New York’s Ludichrist takes a mix-and-match approach to hardcore and speed metal on its first studio album, Immaculate Deception. Singer Tommy Christ keeps pace easily as the skillful band abruptly shifts gears from storming punk to careening rock in topical (frequently irreligious) tunes like “Big Business,” “God Is Everywhere,” “Tylenol,” “Mengele” and a tuneless speeding rendition of “Last Train to Clarkesville.” (Agnostic Fronters, Crumbsuckers and others guest.)
Christ and guitarist Glen Cummings are the only holdovers from the first album on Powertrip, a competently generic thrash-metal assault whose best feature is its sporadically inventive lyrics. Dispensing with the theological references, the quintet comes up with a science-fiction defense of rock’n’roll (“Zad”) and various complaints about workaday life.
Chucking the problematic band name and sonic orthodoxy, Christ, Cummings and guitarist Paul Nieder got themselves a new rhythm section and escaped the metal ghetto by becoming Scatterbrain. A well-rounded program with deftly modulated rhythms and carefully controlled stun strength, Here Comes Trouble touches up the Beastie Boys (“Earache My Eye” is a bratty gang rap), the Chili Peppers (“That’s That” runs a popping bass line under horns and chanted vocals) and Mozart (Nieder does a classic Brian May overdub job on “Sonata #3”), kicking ass with humor (“Don’t Call Me Dude”) as well as seriousness (“Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom”). Power plus invention makes Scatterbrain a bright band.