Brutality
Sea of Ignorance

When considering the importance of the classic Florida death metal scene, unfortunately and rather undeservedly, Brutality is often left off the list of luminaries that grew said scene into possibly the most influential hub of creativity on the planet, yet they were there from the beginning and played just as big a part as their more oft cited peers. Perhaps it was the fact that they did not manage to release a full length album until much later than the likes of Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary and Deicide – the classic debut Screams of Anguish surfaced in 1993 when, sadly the glory days of death metal were already on the wane. I’m sure I do not stand alone in the opinion that all three of Brutality’s 90s albums rank amongst the most important US death metal recordings of all time.

Fast forward to 2013 and the two track EP Ruins of Humans hints that the familiarly devastating sound of Brutality’s earlier output is back with a screaming vengeance. This great morsel was a mere teaser, a tantaliser that certainly raised expectations that a full length would surely be around the corner. So here we are in January 2016, almost 20 years since the release of In Mourning and upon first listen Sea of Ignorance is more of the same brilliance.

Title track “Sea of Ignorance” quickly proves Brutality is on the same form that made their earlier records so special. The familiar thunderous drumming, Reigel’s unmistakeable roar, the fearsome grooves of the riffing, and of course the sublime melodious guitar work are all present and correct. By the time second track “48 to 52” rolls in, it becomes abundantly clear that Brutality have lost none of their incredible song writing skills, this is simply an exemplary piece of pure old-school death metal composition at its dizzying best.Such perfection continues throughout the album, with “Tribute” being a particular highlight. It is a very rare thing for death metal to truly move me these days, but the beautiful guitar harmonies on “Tribute” had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end from the outset.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on Sea of Ignorance is the cover of Bathory’s classic 11 minute opus “Shores in Flames”. When I first heard about this cover I had my doubts. It begins sounding almost identical to the original complete with a very brave attempt to emulate Quorthon’s vocal sound, before slowly moving back into death metal territory. It works, and Brutality has certainly successfully put their stamp on a very well loved classic which was a ballsy move that could have easily backfired.

The greatest achievement of Sea of Ignorance is that given 20 years of advancement in recording technology have past, the band have successfully retained the integrity of the sound of their classic material that could have very much been mired by modern recording techniques. This has thankfully been avoided and while still crushingly heavy, the warmth and clarity within the sound that made When the Sky Turns Black such a classic is still there. Sea of Ignorance is nothing short of a triumph, a modern classic drenched in good old fashioned death metal ethos. What a great start to the new year!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Tom Blackwell
January 18th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: xiweinx

    Glad to see these guys are back. One of the more underestimated bands of the glorious US death metal era.


  2. Commented by: Kostas Vaxevanos

    Always great review Thomas! Vocabulary and expression!!


  3. Commented by: Krazykin

    Well written review. This release will definitely be a top 5 of 2016. Such a great band!


  4. Commented by: Luke_22

    This is a very strong comeback. Hopefully it boosts the band’s profile and encourages others to check out their underrated early work. Nice review as well.


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