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Extreme Metal Fanzine est. 2012

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Brutality – Sea of Ignorance

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The Death Metal scene from Florida is an extraordinary one according my standards. Sure, if you have read a review or two made by me, you know my unhealthy admiration…or fetish if you will, for the Old School Swedish Death Metal sound. But everything (or in their early years) created by acts like Death, Deicide, Obituary, Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse (to name a few) are huge classicks as well. The ones I mentioned are considered as huge influences and reputations (or at least at one point in their careers) but ‘till this very day I consider Brutality as one of the “forgotten and underrated” Death Metal acts who have released high quality and top notch material. “Screams of Anguish” and “When the Sky Turns Black” are huge personal favourites and still being played frequently. But also the 2-track EP “Ruins of Humans” have been played at least a hundred of times and I still enjoy every second of all the details which you can hear through the headphones (the riffs, the solos but also the ticking of the drumsticks in the background at the beginning of “Irreversibly Broken”). Let’s just say Brutality is something special for me. But let’s be honest, it can also be the biggest trap of them all as my expectations are sky high. And call me a fuckin’ fanboy, but I also think they don’t deserve any kind of dissapointment from a fan when they release new material. Whether it is me or somebody else. After the EP, which got an outstanding receiving, the “Screams of Anguish” line-up started writing new material and came up with a funding campaign. After the campaign and the accompanying administrative hassle ended, I think they made the same conclusion like others have made after a campaign like that; once…but never again. During the whole process of writing and recording the cracks in the concrete of the line-up became visible. Long-time drummer Jim Coker left and Brutality entered an uncertain period of time. The band shared a peek of their rehearsals so everybody could witness great drummers behind the kit like Duane Timlin and Alex Marquez. But as surprisingly as they were announced as the new skinsman, they disappeared as well. In the meantime Don Gates made the decision to leave Brutality to seek his happiness in his other passion; country music. With Ruston Grosse as the new drummer the remaining members re-recorded the new material to declare it as a new beginning. “Sea of Ignorance” didn’t turn out as an one-on-one continuation of the “Ruins of Humans” EP as the new album turned out more darker concerning atmosphere, pace and riffs. For example the first minute and a half of a track like “48 to 52” wasn’t something I expected from Jeff Acres and Jay Fernandez. Later on in the song you can hear a trademark Brutality melody line and at the end the well-known solo comes along which tickles the nostalgia trigger once again. Same goes with a track like “Tribute” (lyrics are about the bands they are influenced by, nice one to read), which starts with a great riff and lead. I mentioned pace, but this doesn’t mean they became all Coffins, Asphyx or Hooded Menace on your ass…no, as always there are up-tempo parts, but they have chosen to use some mid-tempo parts to emphasis the darker moments. The more than surprising choice to cover Bathory’s “Shores in Flames” does help as well. I’m not a huge fan of bands covering the Viking-era of Bathory, for example the awful cover of “One Rode to Asa Bay” by Mystic Circle, but I salute this brave effort as it is done very well. Especially the use of different vocals and those high pitched leads! But after 30 spins I have to admit the “what if…” question keeps on popping in my mind. What if the “Ruins of Humans”-line up stuck together? Not a fair question towards the remaining members, but still…Because I think if the two songs of the EP were added, they were in the top 3 of songs of this album. Yet, “Sea of Ignorance” is still 100% Brutality. The great grunt of Scott Reigel, the riffs and leads of Jay and bass-work of Jeff…it’s all there and “Sea of Ignorance” is without doubt a worthy addition to the Brutality legacy. (Ricardo)