Day 8: A Heavy Metal Homage to Star Trek

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“Write what you know and love” is a pretty classic bit of advice, or mantra for artists. Yet Mike Taylor’s 80’s metal moniker, Positronic Brain, still feels like a surprising creative choice: it is a heavy metal homage to 80’s thrash and … Star Trek.

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Positronic Brain’s 2017 RPM, Resistance is Futile (written of course in Star Trek font on the album’s galactic cover art), focuses specifically on The Next Generation. The liner notes read, “This album was written between Stardate 94521 and 94688 and recorded between Stardate 94688 and 94762 (Earthdate month of February) as part of the RPM Challenge … challenge done in sector 0-0-1 (Earth).”

How Does One Come to Settle on a Star Trek Themed Metal Album?

Basically, I love Star Trek, so last year when I started recording as Positronic Brain, I decided that instead of using the standard metal lyric tropes, I’d write about the original Star Trek series rather than Satan or nuclear war. That became my first EP, Set Phasers To Thrash which came out in December 2016. I started writing for the RPM album immediately after so I just continued with the same theme.

What are Some of the Songs About?

The songs are all about individual episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. So there’s everything from “Skin of Evil,” which is an episode where a giant oil slick monster named Armus eats Commander Riker, to “Darmok,” which is about Captain Picard being forced to go on a hunting trip with an alien that he can’t communicate with.

Any Fun Facts to Share?

I literally played guitar until my fingers bled. It took a lot of guitar playing to make this album – the rhythm guitars are fast and precise and have to be double-tracked and then panned left and right, which requires a lot of takes to nail perfectly. By the time I was working on the guitar solos, which are mostly chaotic and fast, some of my fingers started blistering or bleeding, which had never happened to me before, but I still had to get it done. It was painful but I’m happy with the results, and a friend of mine played about half the solos as well, which certainly helped.

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Why 80’s Metal?

I love all kinds of music, but metal has always been my favorite. 80’s thrash like Slayer, Anthrax, Kreator, and Metallica’s first four albums never get old to me. The late 80’s also saw thrash morph into more extreme genres like death metal, so that’s where the harsher vocal style I use comes from. That tends to turn off a few people but it’s what I like.

About Author

Chad Pelley

Chad Pelley is an author, songwriter, and journalist who wrote for publications like the Globe & Mail and The Telegraph-Journal before founding The Overcast. Now he spends 25 hours a day keeping up with his email, and has no time to be his former self.

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