Orchestrated Devastation

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The US and mainly fertile Floridian death metal explosion of the early 90s is stuff of legend; Death, Cynic, Atheist, Obituary, Deicide, Nocturnus, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and the Morrisound ‘sound produced some of the best death ever, that to this day is considered seminal and whose influnce is still going well over 25 years later. Well in 1993 a band called Brutality released Screams of Anguish on label monsters Nuclear Blast, and while it arguably juuuuuust missed the genre’s peak its more classical based style insured that it rubbed shoulders with some of the classics of the day.

The album was critically acclaimed and a quality follow up, When the Sky Turns Black was released in 1994, when death metal was starting to get a saturated. However amid lineup changes the band released In Mourning in 1996, and it was an album that never quite delivered on the quality of the band’s first two releases. The band broke up in 1998 but in 2008 there were rumbling of a reunion and a new album. The band teased with a few compilations, eps, and singles etc, but a new album never came. Until now. 2016 finally sees the release of Sea of Ignorance, the long, long, long awaited fourth album that sees original members Jeff Acres (bass), Scott Reigel (vocals) and Jay Fernandez (guitars) reunite (with the help of youngster Ruson Grosse on drums) and the result is unmistakably Brutality, capturing the band’s unique sound of your and certainly erasing the slightly bitter taste in In Mourning. I was honored to catch up with Scott Reigel via Facebook and pick his brain about Brutality’s past present and future.

So it’s 2016 and finally the new album is here. It seems like it’s been years since the album has been started or supposed to be released. How does it feel to finally have it out?

It feels really good to have it out finally for our fans!

What were some of the hang ups in getting it done? It feels like the reunion has been on and off again since about 2007.

We have tried to get back together a few times since 2002 but it never felt right with the line ups so it never went very far. Releasing the album on our own wasn’t easy plus the line up was changing while we were writing so when we got the final line up for recording it went really smooth.

The album is being released on Repulsive Echo and the band’s own label, Ceremonial Records, even after an EP on Mighty Music last year. Why the self-released route? I get the sense you guys are sick of label bullshit?

We had offers from bigger labels but we wanted to keep the rights of our music and labels want to own your music! Us doing it on our own gives us the rights to do what we please.

In a time where reunions are a dime a dozen, are you surprised someone like Nuclear Blast didn’t jump all over you guys? Any contact with them?

We still have contact with them for past business but otherwise they nor us are interested in working together again.

The reunion is 3 of the original Brutality guys, how important was it to have the reunion not be just Jeff Acres and some guys, but you and Fernandez at least back in the fold — especially seeing as your distinctive voice was so pivotal back then?

When the whole getting back together, Jeff and I wanted to have Jay, Don and Jim back as the Screams line up.

Was there any interest from other original or early members Jim Coker and Don Gates? Has the reunion been amicable between former and past members?

Actually in 2012 the screams line up with Don and Jim reunited to play a benefit show Metal Mowlisha for Donald Tardy and his wife’s Cat Rescue. After the show we decided to write a few songs to see what would happen “Ruins of Humans was born. 2013 we played a Reunion show where we played “Screams of Anguish” in full.

Your reunion seemed pretty low key. You guys have sat back and watched all these reunions from bands you guys came up with. How difficult or frustrating was it to see happen , while you guys could not seem to get it fully realized until now?

We don’t have tons of fans like some of the other band reuniting. This album is for our fans that got our attention through social media.

Do you feel Brutality got the recognition they deserved back in the ’90s, or do you still feel they were a little overlooked, especially in the then crazy good Floridian scene? Or are you happy with the band’s legacy from the ’90s?

I think we were overlooked since we were not signed until after some of the now more known FL bands. All in, all we are happy with what we’ve done for the Metal scene in our last 30 yrs of being a band.

Is the new album unfinished business from In Mourning, which was not as critically revered as the first two albums, and frankly saw the band fizzle a bit before disbanding? Or are you happy with how than band left things with In Mourning?

During “In Mourning” we had new guitarists the writing process went a little differently from the past records. After its release we didn’t see any push from the label so after a few U.S. shows we decided to just part ways with thoughts of possibly one day rejoining to do another album.

What did you do between In Mourning and the Brutality reunion? Did you do any musical endeavors?

Well I got married and divorced [laughs]. I did some guest vocals, but for me it was Brutality or nothing, so those don’t count.

The new album is definitely Brutality. Songs like “End of Days” and “Perpetual Resolution” are unmistakably Brutality. How did you balance trying to capture the old sound without simply being rehashed and tired while still being relevant in death metal in 2016?

We haven’t been writing regurgitated album over the last 20 years so when getting together to write this album it came pretty much came together naturally as to being relevant we think this album shows our fans what were all about.

The cover of Bathory’s Shores in Flames is one of the boldest cover choices I’ve heard, especially from a death metal band. What prompted that choice? Who did the clean vocals? You?

I didn’t do the clean vocals,  that is Jay, and Jeff as always did the sick darker vocal line in the middle verses of the song. As far as choosing it we are and always have been since we were teens in the 80’s huge Bathory fans and we felt this song would fit our style not to mention be a honor to cover such a godly song.

Is Brutality in 2016 a more socially aware than 1991 Brutality, Sea of  Ignorance seems to be so.

We’ve always had songs about the everyday reality about how brutal real life is which is way more scary than fairy tales!

Was there any temptation to redo any of the classics such as “Crushed” or “Cryptorium”?

No those are classics of ours. They are timeless.

What is the time frame of the music on the new album? How much is old music from the last few years and how much is ‘new’ music?

Some of the riffs are from older stuff we worked on years ago but as far as the songs they are all new written for this album in the past few years.

Jarrett Pritchard nailed the production keeping your original sound intact. How did he come to the fray? Was there any temptation to go back to Morrisound?

Morrisound sold their studio a few years back to TSO and haven’t got a new one built yet to record in so we had to look elsewhere to record. Jarrett has been a life long friend we started playing music together when we where 16 so it was a no brainer when we needed a new engineer to continue the raw Brutality sound, we think he nailed it he’s a great sound guy live or in the studio.

What is the sample that starts 48 to 52? From a zombie film I take it?

‘No zombies” I’m afraid. it’s from a BBC documentary about the Black Plague in Europe during 1348 to 1352.

So is this reunion a one time thing or do you have further plans? Are you charging forward with tours and possible future albums?

We are just going to see how the release does at this point we have no plans for another album or any long tours. This is for our fans we hope on some interest from some of the festivals so we have the opportunity to let our fans see us live.

Thanks so much. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have you on the site.

Thank you and all of our fans worldwide this is for you guys without you we are nothing. Stay Brutal.





  1. Commented by: Kostas Vaxevanos

    i really enjoyed it! thank you!

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