Brutai have somewhat of a special place in my music library. They were the first ever band I interviewed for the site back in 2014, so as a result I’ve been keeping a close eye on the band these past two years now. I caught up with the boys at Bloodstock this year before their stellar performance on the Sophie stage, and quizzed the band as to how they were doing with their debut album. It had been a while since their last release and I was curious as to when we would get to hear some new music. Frontman Felix responded by saying, “It has been a long time, but it is coming.” And boy, has it been worth the wait…
Opening up the album is a brand new version of their 2014 single “Relapse”. As soon as the first guitar riffs come in, I immediately remember why I love this band so much. Grooving riffs, superb vocal harmonies from Felix and Alex and the excellent bass and drums all meld together to create what is a superb opening track.
“Born” then smacks my ears and keeps the groove going all whilst interweaving more melody than was expressed in the previous track. “Of Ashes” then takes a slightly more ‘djenty’ style, but unlike a lot of djent bands the band doesn’t rely on simply chugging on the one string. Instead, they weave their trademark guitar and synth layered melodies in to create a rather beautiful soundscape.
“Lucidity” comes in and I’m rather taken aback by it. Having a slightly slower pace than the previous tracks, it features the harsh vocals of Felix alongside the harmonies as shown in “Relapse” and “Born”. At the 1:48 mark, a superb groove edges it way in before the melodies from earlier come back in and bring the track to a close.
Opening in a much calmer manner is the track “Valediction”. Clean guitars and soothing synth pads give way into a technical yet melodic marvel. The track then drops back to just synths and a synth drum pad which adds a whole other dimension to the track and makes it easily one of the standout tracks on the album.
Another older re-recorded track in the form of “Never Change” then plays and I’m instantly reminded of that first show when I saw them. Despite there not being many people there, the band were just as good then as they are now. Whilst the song is a re-recording, it feels much more refined and crisper than the previously released version. It still evokes the same emotions as I experienced when listening to the original however and the track is again one of the standout tracks of the album.
“Dear Emily” can arguably be classed as one of the heaviest tracks on the album. With its harsh vocals and rhythmic guitar melodies, it marks a contrast between the sweeping harmonies of “Never Change” and “Valediction”. Toning things down a tad, “Over Now” shows off the more melodic side of the band in expert fashion. With its tasteful guitar solos and floating vocal harmonies, it’s easily one of the best tracks on the album.
With a rather deceptively calm opening “Visitors” takes a turn for the extreme in a similar fashion to “Dear Emily”. Bringing back the harsh vocals, the track then drops in the layered harmonies as shown in “Over Now” and continues to ‘flip-flop’ in between the styles. “The Border” then plays and features one of the best vocal harmonies I’ve ever heard in a song. It truly is a beautiful song and it makes for a fitting closing song to the album.
Now, I’ve already awarded my album of the year to Winter’s Gate by Insomnium but if I could have two albums of the year then this one would be the other. This album is exactly what I’ve been looking for in metal for a long time. Superb grooves, harsh and clean vocals, layered harmonies and a sense of not being bound by genre or having to conform to some set of rules. This is a band that refuses to be pigeon-holed into one genre and isn’t afraid to experiment. All I can say is this: well done, lads. Well done. You’ve made a ‘young’ metalhead and fan extremely happy.
Rating: Perfect 10.
Standout Tracks: “Relapse”, “Born”, “Lucidity”, “Never Change”, “Dear Emily”, “Visitors”, “The Border”