Great Lost Technical Death

I’ve never understood why Brutality never entered the pantheon of immortal Technical Death Metal bands. Especially because of this album, which is about as perfect a TDM album as I’ve ever heard. I was listening to a lot of Atheist and early Suffocation when I stumbled upon this superb release and thought, “This band’s gonna be totally worshipped some day.” Then they just sort of faded out, whether due to internal disputes, line-up changes or just scene burn-out. I guess we’ll never know.

Although every song is excellent, my favorite cut on this release is “Cries of the Forsaken,” which epitomizes everything that’s right about this release. Beginning with ponderous downtuned rhythm guitar interspersed with wailing twin lead accents, the song soon escalates into a technical marvel bursting with energy and solid HEAVY metallic drum salvos. Vocalist Scott Reigel, whose diminutive stature belies his ability to reach into the depths of DM growls, explores the typical early-90s lyrical gore fare. Although it might be a bit dated as metal poetry, it doesn’t detract in the least from the intensity of Brutality’s performance.

Brutality do some amazing things with rhythm and timing. Check out “These Walls Shall Be Your Grave.” The rhythm line played by the guitarists slides completely out of time with what the drummer is doing, almost like polyrhythm, and then comes right back to the one before going completely outside again. Over and over. Sort of like what Cryptopsy used to do but maintaining the classic Florida DM sound while doing it. This song proves that these guys were certainly no slouches when it comes to musicality. They can fucking PLAY! The entire release just abounds with little technical touches that’ll make you shout, “Hell yeah!” Or “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Even the obligatory keyboard/acoustic guitar piece, called “Sympathy” is effective and well played with an interesting melody.

Like most of the TDM bands of that era, the guitarists take a lot of cues from Maiden – beautiful twin melodic playing; arrangements festooned with precision hammer-ons/offs; complimentary simul-soloing. And most of the songs achieve a “Tornado of Souls” type intensity, especially the way the band ends their songs.

One of the most surprising things about Brutality is that the members, after the band disintegrated, didn’t seem to go on to higher fame. Especially drummer Jim Coker. He’s a fucking  monster on this release. Killer double-kick that actually stays in time with the songs’ tempi. Listen to how many crap DM drummers there are out there trying to cover up going out of time every other measure and one can appreciate when a DM drummer is doing it right. And although there’s plenty of (good) blasting, that’s not all Coker does. Hell, he sounds almost jazzy half the time.

Unfortunately Brutality’s later releases, with different line-ups, don’t hold a candle to this magnificent debut. If you’re searching for something that’ll have you banging like you did a decade ago, but with production quality that rivals today’s best DM releases, you could do worse than picking up Screams of Anguish. The band’s motto sums it all up: MUSIC TO MANGLE YOUR MIND!

This entry was posted in Music.

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