If you have lived under a rock your entire rock and have never heard of Tampa, Florida’s Brutality than you really need a good thrashing and maybe throw in a few camel clutches and figure-four leg locks, just to keep you in check. Brutality released 3 outstanding and classic Floridian inspired death metal albums in the 90’s, Screams of Anguish, When the Sky Turns Black and In Mourning. The band members went their separate ways, for a while until finally deciding to bring back the glory in 2012 and released a 2 song ep, the following year, Ruins of Humans. I felt the songs were quite raw, but a decent ep, as well as insight into the band really trying to get their shit together.
The small label, Ceremonial Records, like the ep, has released Sea of Ignorance, Brutality’s 4th full length. Repulsive Echo Records has also released it, with an alternate cover. No worries, with this release you get a different album cover and the cover from Repulsive Echo Records, is on the well designed booklet. The album reunites Jeff Acres, bass/vox, Jay Fernandez, guitars, Scott Reigel, vocals and some dude Ruston Grosse on drums, that I had never heard of. If you’re a Brutality fan then you’re wondering how does this full length stack up with their classic 3 albums? My answer is pretty freakin’ good. This sounds like classic Brutality. Maybe a tad rawer, since their is no Morrisound recording, but who gives a shit, this is some ass kicking death metal. The title track gets things going with the trademark Brutality death/thrash blast beat with some awesome and audible bass guitar plucking and strumming. The tune has the classic melodies, as well. The band’s name, Brutality was always a misnomer, since the band crafted quite alot of melody into their song writing. We get those melodies, at the end of the title track. “Fatal Cure”, begins with a quick beat and vocal tones straight out of Deicide’s Once Upon The Cross album. Awesome melodies that takes us into a grooving pattern that works quite well.
The songs are more streamlined than on previous albums and are shorter. The one tune a bit out of place is the inclusion of a cover song from the classic Hammerheart album, by Bathory. “Shores in Flames”, one of the finest Bathory tunes, was also one of their longest, at over 11 minutes. Quorthon (RIP) would be proud, I am sure, as he looks up, from below, as this version stays true to the original in every way, including the waves and shit. When band’s do covers I do like it when the band injects their own elements and maybe fucks with the tune a little bit. Kind of like how Krisiun includes blast beats into their cover songs and such. Also, this song was one of the slower Bathory songs. So with all the death thrashing and blasting going on with the rest of this album, this cover tune kind of takes away from the intensity the album was traveling along. Maybe a Bathory cover of one of their faster tunes, like “Dies Irae” or “Equimanthorn” would have fitted a little better. Don’t get me wrong, Brutality’s version of “Shores in Flames”, is actually very well done. I just disagree with placing it on a reunion album, when 1-2 more original songs could have been done.
The produiction of Sea of Ignorance is very 90’s, not overbearingly loud, but also organic and natural. I mentioned the well designed booklet, already and this cd comes in one of those super slim line digipak shits-a nice space saver. Brutality have returned and opened up 2016 with a strong release and well done album. Buy or be prepared to meet your “End of Days”!!
8.5 out of 10
1. Sea of Ignorance
2. 48 to 52
3. Fatal Cure
5. Perpetual Resolution
6. Barbarically Beheaded
7. Shores In Flames (Bathory cover)
8. End of Days
For Fans of…
All the great Floridian Death Metal bands of Yore!!
Sea of Ignorance/Fatal Cure/Barbarically Beheaded