Reviewed: February 2016
Released: 2016, Ceremonial Records
In the early 90s, Tampa Florida was the US capital of the Death Metal Underground. Death, Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel, and many others made their mark. Brutality burst onto the scene in 1993 with SCREAMS OF ANGUISH, showing they were just as heavy as their contemporaries and had a level of musicianship to match and even surpass them. Two more great albums followed, 1994’s WHEN THE SKY TURNS BLACK (my personal favorite) and 1996’s IN MOURNING, but the band never received the acclaim they truly deserved. After a hiatus the band re-formed and three years ago we got RUINS OF HUMANS, a killer EP that still retained the trademark Brutality sound. Now, 20 years since IN MOURNING, Brutality has spit forth SEA OF IGNORANCE, their long awaited 4th full length album. How does it stack up with their best?
Opening title track is vintage Brutality, Scott Reigel’s powerful growl, Jay Ferandez’s deadly riffs, and machine gun blast beats from new drummer Ruston Grosse. Jeff Acres provides good higher pitched backing vocals as usual; this song would feel right at home on one of Brutality’s earlier albums. Things shift a bit with “48 to 52″, a song about the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. You’d expect this song to be sick and savage, but it actually has some melodic parts too. The guitar solo at the end is intricate and beautiful. “Fatal Cure” is heavier and blistering, right up my alley. “Tribute” has a fast thrashy sound before some great guitar work at the end. Rest of the album is solid old school Death Metal. The only song I don’t really care for is their cover of Bathory’s “Shores In Flames”. It is faithful to the original with clean vocals early before switching over to Death Metal style growling. I just don’t like clean singing on a Death Metal record.
Brutality has retained their classic Florida Death Metal sound while adding a few melodic wrinkles. SEA OF IGNORANCE is not as intense or unrelenting as their earlier material but this is a monster of an album that gets better with each listen. Highly recommended for Death Metallers and fans of extreme music.
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