Box Set Review: Direct Hit! – “Brainless God”

In fall 2013, Direct Hit! unleashed Brainless God, a pop punk concept album about the apocalypse, unto the world. It was really good, and deserved all the praise that it received. You probably even listened to it yourself. But this review isn’t about Brainless God, the album. For more on the music, you can read Carson’s review here. This review is for the limited edition vinyl box set version of Brainless God released approximately a year after the album’s original release. Included in this box set is the album on 12-inch vinyl (audiophiles, don’t worry, it sounds great), a lyric sheet, Brainless God, the comic book, and Brainless God, the movie, on DVD.

As to be expected, the comic and DVD are the meat of this set. As a concept album, Brainless God is fairly straightforward in its storytelling, although it’s not always entirely clear who is saying/singing what in the album’s second half. The comic and the DVD both put their own spin on the story, particularly in their presentations of the finale, although overall they work together to help fill in the gaps where character dialogue and roles are concerned. Neither provide any additional dialogue to add more storytelling depth, although the songs already cover so much of the narrative that having the visuals to aid is satisfying enough.

Due to differences in budget, the comic has a wider range to work with when it comes to the supernatural aspects of the story, which gives it a slight edge over the movie. The comic’s artwork is equally beautiful and chaotic, matching Direct Hit!’s music perfectly. The Direct Hit! faithful may recognize the work of illustrator Eric Baskauskas, who also provided the artwork for the “Caroler” single and the Direct Hit! / Priceduifkes split EP. Meanwhile, the DVD presents the tale through a grainy filter to give it a low budget horror movie feel. Even with the minor differences, both mediums add new layers and dimensions to an already rich story.

The biggest fault with this collection is the packaging… mostly that it lacks an actual sleeve for the album itself. Sure, the cardboard box that it comes in nice and sturdy, making it great for shipping and handling purposes but it’s not ideal when it comes to introducing the record to the rest of your collection. Home project enthusiasts can most likely find an easy solution to this problem, but the rest of us idiots are left jacket-less and stuck with a box to be placed somewhere else. The lyric insert also feels a bit redundant considering that the comic contains all of the lyrics as well. I know: boo hoo, a band enhanced the experience of listening to their music, how awful that I can’t keep it with the rest of my records.

Minor gripes aside, this is a pretty great box set that adds even more to what was already an amazing album. It’s not all that common for pop punk bands to release a concept album, let alone a cohesive one that works. Direct Hit! not only did that, but they went the extra mile by releasing this set. Unfortunately this box set was a limited pressing of 300, so if you missed out, hopefully you know a guy. Just be sure he’s not carrying an ether-soaked towel before getting into his car.

Comic: 4.5 / 5
Movie: 4 / 5
Packaging: 3 / 5
Overall: 3.8 / 5

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