Album Title: Brutta
Label: Independent Release
Date of Release: 17 June 2022
“The album is a definitive punch in your face… or maybe we could say a hammer in your forehead! A mixture of open evil chords with blastbeats finding a defined yet tormenting growling vocal. The song themes are very precise, and lyrics brings a subjective aspect of humans mental conflicts from a darker angle. It’s right there, aggression, darkness, heaviness, a critical sound mass with huge personality, not to mention its fine production.”
For once, I thought I’d let the band themselves describe their music, so this is the quote from Brutta, a brand-new band that seeks to channel the heavier end of the death metal spectrum, add in some black metal, and ensure that listeners are left in no doubt that they are in the presence of something truly uncompromising. Brutta is the name given to this collaboration of three musicians that was sparked very recently by drummer Gledson Gonçalves. Having worked with ex-Haken bassist Tom MacLean and Adriano Ribiero (guitars and vocals) as a session drummer for their Athemon project, Gledson put forth the idea to both that perhaps they should work together again. And the rest, as they say, is history, and we can now hear the fruit of their labours in the form of their self-titled debut album.
‘Brutta’ is everything that has been described above in what is a pretty accurate summation. For just over half-an-hour (33 minutes to be exact), the trio of musicians seem to take a perverse delight in bludgeoning the listener with a particularly nasty brand of extreme metal that has its roots firmly buried in the death metal genre. However, with Gonçalves’ appreciation for black metal, the music manages to fuse the two rather proficiently. I’m reminded most of the likes of Satyricon, Dark Funeral and Bloodbath, but many more references may be heard by each listener depending on your own vantage point or knowledge of the two extreme metal genres. Suffice to say that there’s precious little let up throughout this debut.
At the outset, I was going to bemoan a lack of variety and also a lack of memorability within the eight tracks. But with further familiarisation, this initial view has been found wanting, as there’s far more going on within the music than I first appreciated. Admittedly, the early spins will have you reeling and perhaps only noticing the crushing, uncompromising heaviness. But give it some time because if you do, the rewards are there to be discovered.
The opening riff of the opening track, ‘Brutta’ is a beast and sets the tone for the album really well. It’s a hypnotic and evil-sounding riff that’s then joined by bruising double pedal drumming, Tom MacLean’s consummate bass playing, and growls that are gritty and spiteful, but decipherable which is a positive, meaning that you can explore the lyrical content more closely. The lead guitar notes have a dissonance, but weirdly add to the memorability of the song, whilst the contrast between the fast-paced ‘chorus’ and the slightly slower verses works well. Mind you, I’m saying this after listening to it many times over.
The sound of buzzing flies at the opening of ‘Mortem’ conjures up a mental image of the original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ film, as it displays a similar kind of discomfort, as well as an oppressive, claustrophobic feel. I hear a great deal of the ‘Stockholm’ death metal sound within the song too, as it is a reasonably straight-forward heavy riffing death metal song, but with an intriguing couple of moments in the middle that mix things up just a little.
‘Frgmntd’ is a savage proposition, where walls of heavy sound clash with vocals that are much more spiteful, attitude-laden, and possessed. A certain amount of robust groove is injected, but for the most part, this is easily one of the more extreme and confrontational tracks on ‘Brutta’.
My favourite song of them all has to be the seriously cool ‘Inferno’ though. It makes a blistering start, full of pace and energy before I’m hit with arguably the closest Brutta ever get to real overt melody and accessibility. The chorus hits and it hits hard as a result; dark and penetrating, it has a twisted and malevolent pull that’s hard to resist, the thundering guitars at their very best.
If I have any slight misgivings about ‘Brutta’, it’d be that I am less keen on a couple of the closing tracks. And primarily, that’s because I don’t get on quite as well with the vocals which, in the case of ‘Devon’, are a cross between tribal moaning, and a tormented groan to accompany the more familiar growl of Ribiero. And musically, it’s an unrelenting battery with precious little respite. It’s a similar story with ‘Cristus’, although the cleaner vocals come across as a bit off-key, probably entirely deliberately though. The song itself calls to mind the likes of Rotting Christ or Moonspell at their heaviest and least melodic. They both remain interesting songs, but just not the best on this album.
Nevertheless, this minor quibble aside, I have no qualms in recommending Brutta to fans of extreme metal. It does exactly what it sets out to do, namely pummel the listener into the ground and in a way in which the musicians seem to take great delight too. It isn’t the most sophisticated dose of music you’ll hear this year, but it is hard-hitting and very satisfying all the same, whilst being executed professionally and, when given time, more nuanced than you might think at the outset. All-in-all, ‘Brutta’ is a more than solid affair that’s well worth checking out.
The Score of Much Metal: 82%
Check out my other 2022 reviews here:
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