Friday, June 21, 2013
Brutus - Behind The Mountains
There’s this groove, a void if you will, that we all know exists. It’s the crack that Pentagram fell in. It’s the chasm that riffed out, ‘blooze’ rock disappeared into after Sabbath and all other brands that brought the rock switched from weed to coke. This isn’t anything new to those of you who follow the retro/doom/occult rock that has boomed in the underground, especially in the Scandinavian and Norwegian regions of Europe. Witchcraft, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, Graveyard, and Kadavar are topping concert bills all over Europe. Here in the States we have groups like Mos Generator, Orchid, and Scorpion Child are grinding out the same sort of no bullshit rock and roll. And why not? A powerhouse vocalist and a wall of Marshall, Laney, or Oranges set up for an impressive rock sound. Why fuck with the formula? It’s a wide groove and one that works every time you need a drunken crowd to nod their heads in syncopation and reverence for the pentatonic amplifier theatrics. Side note, for those of you who haven’t come up from your bong in a few years...the blues are based on 5 notes, hence PENTAtonic scales...you know...like a pentagram. Ok, more on that in a minute.
Enter Brutus and their new record, Behind The Mountains, released June 14 on Svart Records. Hailing from the same Scandinavian and Norwegian regions as the bands mentioned before, Brutus is set up for the same sort of crowds that have been following the others. The fit the blueprint down to the cut-off denim jackets, long hair, and extra wooly chops on their faces. It’s easy to imagine these rockers rolling out of a hotboxed boogie van just in time to plug in and rock the house. Par for the course, it’s typical of the style. Like I said before, why mess with the formula?
Here’s the quick run down. Every song rocks. No problems here. Brutus has a heavy groove based on 70’s riff rock in the vein of Sabbath (naturally), Grand Funk Railroad, and legendary rock casualties Pentagram. That’s what the press release said and that’s what I heard. The stand out stomper of the record, personally, is Big Square Head. Featuring a heavy down beat accented riff with a Hendrix style turnaround lthat leaves room for tasty wah-wah leads, it stands out. There’s plenty of proto-metal from the start to finish. What more is there to say but Brutus has this shit down cold. There is some decent songwriting, which many riff based bands seem to lack, and it keeps the album moving along. Note to other bands in the genre: It helps to be able to tell which song is which. It’s really nice when that happens. If I was to rate this album on a genre specific scale...9/10. You have to be into this sort of stuff to appreciate it (or it will just sound like classic rock radio that you never heard), but it turns out that this sound is hotter than just about everything else going on in the ‘stoner’ world. I suggest giving this one a spin when you’ve worn out the new Orchid record.