Brutality at Mass Destruction Fest
The Loft at Center Stage
November 4, 2017
Review by Infamous Butcher, Photos by She Wolf
When you have a bloodcraving for something sick and heavy, it’s hard to beat Florida Death Metal! Death, Obituary, Deicide, and Morbid Angel are well known Florida bands that had success in reaching a wider audience. Often overlooked, Brutality was spawned in the same Tampa swamp at the same time. Their unique blend of blistering heaviness and technical wizardry shown on their classic albums SCREAMS OF ANGUISH and WHEN THE SKY TURNS BLACK make them among the best the Florida Death Metal brand has to offer. Back now promoting last year’s SEA OF IGNORANCE with a new lineup. Brutality is hitting the metal festival circuit. 4 years ago I was very fortunate to catch Brutality at Delaware Death Fest II, so when I saw they were playing the first Mass Destruction Fest in Atlanta, I knew I had to make the trip! On to Hotlanta for some savagery!
Center Stage is this relatively new concert complex in midtown Atlanta. It has 3 venues in it, Vinyl, The Loft, and Center Stage Theater. Tonight we are in The Loft, a cozy upstairs room perfect for metal. It was a bit dark and grungy, kind of like Underground Arts back home in Philly. That’s fine, anytime I go to a metal show if it is too clean, it just doesn’t feel right. The main room was spacious and large enough for 500 people. I think we had about 300 tonight. Stage was about 2.5 feet off the ground and decent sized. There was a barrier so no stage diving but that’s ok because I like to get a spot at the barrier and hold fast. Plenty of pit space, but there really wasn’t much violence tonight and my shoulder is healing anyway. Sound quality was good and loud, fairly distortion free. Main room had 2 bars in it. Also, there were multiple rooms in the Loft, some of which were being used for Merch and band gear. One of the rooms had a view of midtown Atlanta but nobody gave a shit.
Brutality had an earlier set time at 8:15, which was great because I didn’t have to wait until 11 or 12 for one of my favorite bands! They ripped into the audience with the title track of their new album and woke us the fuck up! Dual vocals from Scott Reigel (lower pitched) and Jeff Acres (higher pitched) were subhuman and vicious as the two traded off each other like a couple of fucking madmen! The shredding riffs rained on us by Jay Fernandez and new guitarist Jason Schwartzwalder were impressive as drummer Ron Parmer (new, also plays in Amon) punished us with blast beats and Jeff provided rumbling bass. The crowd responded with intense headbanging and the vibe was electric! Next we got “Artistic Butchery” a nugget from WHEN THE SKY TURNS BLACK that the older fans really enjoyed. Then it was all the way back to SCREAMS OF ANGUISH with “Cries of the Forsaken” which the band just destroyed on. Taking the amazing set in was like being in the middle of an awe inspiring violent thunderstorm!
After another new one in “Barbarically Beheaded”, the band really laid the Loft to waste with their final 3 songs. “These Walls Shall Be Your Grave”, one of their best known classics, was haunting and suffocating, fantastic guitar work by Jeff and Jason and insane vocals from Scott (BURIED IN THE MASOLEUM, CREMATION OF THE DAMNED!) and Jeff (HIDDEN DIMENSIONS, SKELETAL REMAINS!). I love the transition from Scott to Jeff at the end! Then we got “48 to 52” (cool new song about the Black Plague) which featured Jason’s amazing guitar chops in addition to great vocals from Scott (6 OUT OF 10 IN EVERY FAMILY!). Then, as we were on the ropes, Brutality hit us with their KO punch, fucking “Cryptorium”, one of the heaviest, sickest, and best loved death metal songs of all time! Again, superb back and forth vocals from Jeff (DISTURBING SACRED BURIAL GROUNDS!) and Scott (REVEALING THE DARK REMAINS!) and machine gun blast beats from Ron! Perfect way to close out the set! The crowd loved it and people were calling for “Race Defects” from WHEN THE SKY TURNS BLACK, but due to tight set times Brutality had to finish in 45 minutes.
It was great to see Brutality again and the set was much different this time, which is cool because I like variety when it comes to setlists. Last time there was a lot more SCREAMS OF ANGUISH material because the band at the time was the SCREAMS lineup. Also, live it is cool to see who is singing what parts, because on some songs it isn’t as obvious as others. I also relished the chance to hear 3 new songs from SEA OF IGNORANCE live. The first Mass Destruction Fest was a success and this should become an annual metal festival in Atlanta, which is great for the metal underground. Brutality is starting to play more shows and fests and even NY dates are being talked about, so be on guard my fellow metalheads! When Brutality comes to town, you don’t want to miss the devastation!
Sea of Ignorance
Cries of the Forsaken
These Walls Shall Be Your Grave
48 to 52