Brutai on ‘Born’

Brutai on their album, tour and the year ahead

It was a freezing evening in Norwich when I went to meet BRUTAI at Norwich’s Waterfront venue. The second day of supporting DEVIL YOU KNOW, ONI and WEARING SCARS on their UK tour, Felix Lawrie and Henry Ryan (pictured) seemed quietly excited yet composed as we sat down to talk about the tour and their debut album Born, which was released last November to rave reviews. Chatting about the bands featured on the walls of the venue (just what did happen to SHADOWS FALL?!) the guys were polite and relaxed as they settled down to chat.

So it’s the second day of the tour, how’s it going so far?

Felix (vocals and guitar): It’s going as well as we could have imagined really. You have the first day nerves and getting introduced to everyone. Then getting to grips with what everyone’s bringing, who’s going to be on stage and what time. It’s sort of an introductory thing the first day and with the first show, your mentality can only be “ok one down, on to the next one”.

Henry (guitar):  I think for me after two or three shows of the tour it starts to get a lot more comfortable. I mean, when was the last gig before this?

Felix: Probably December?

Henry: Yea so we’ve had a little bit of a break so it’s always the first gig with a bit of edge to it.

Felix: Getting into the routine of everything as well, living together for the next couple of weeks.

Yea, in your motorhome! Tell me about your motorhome…

Henry: It’s the second time now. We find instead of going for a van and accommodation separately, we thought we’d sleep and travel. We’re not in the position to have a tour bus.

Felix: It does actually save quite a lot of money and it’s actually quite financially viable doing it this way and also pretty cool. You got all your gear and you turn up in your motorhome and people are like “what are those gypsies doing? Ah no, it’s Brutai!”.

Henry: Yea, we’re like a caravan club basically.

Felix: Yea caravan club!

And you can cook in there…

Henry: Yea! Fairly basic cooking in there.

Felix: Alex (Lorimer, keys) is the resident chef, he’s taken it upon himself, prepping a lot of food. I think they’re actually having dinner right now.

Henry: Quick bite to eat, yea.

Is this your first full UK tour?

Felix: I’d probably say the biggest one definitely.

Henry: Definitely the biggest.

Felix: We’ve done headline runs, like small weekenders. We did a five day tour with the guys from Centiment, who are the guys from InMe in their metal side project. That was the first time we did the motorhome and that was our first proper tour I think and this one is our biggest one. Big American bands and Wearing Scars, they’ve played massive stadiums. It is our biggest tour, definitely.

Let’s talk about your album. I remember hearing the EP, back in 2013 and when I listened to Born it sounded like Brutai but it sounded more focused and a bit more mature. How did Brutai grow as a band between the EP and the album?

Felix: Well I think you’re probably talking to the right people because we’re the only two members remaining from the EP. The EP was a bit of a weird one because at the time the only official members of the EP recording process was myself, Henry and our old bass player Mike. I think Mike had to leave and we didn’t even have a drummer at the time, we actually hired a session drummer and his name was Mike Pitman and he played in a band called Xerath. He sessioned for us and did the EP, was received well and we got a full line-up. We got Alex involved, our keyboard player, and he brings a bit of a pop sensibility to the writing. He’s been our best mate, we all went to school together you see.

Henry: I think in terms of the difference between the EP and the album musically, there’s obviously the influence of the new members. I think ever since we started this band, the older you get and the more serious it becomes, it means people have to be committed to it so we have had, when we were younger, we had members come and go because they couldn’t commit fully to it.

Felix: We’ve had our fair share of drummers. [laughs] We’re settled now! We’re settled now.

Henry: So we got to the point where everyone’s committed to the band and everyone has an input into the writing process and how the songs sound, then you will naturally have a progression in the music.

Felix: With the EP I think it was more a focussed thing, it was more of a studio project between myself, Henry and Mike at the time.

Henry: Quite rushed.

Felix: Yea a little bit rushed. A little bit rushed I’d say.

Henry: Because it was in the studio.

Felix: Yea and this one, with Born it was a longer process because we demoed songs, we had a couple of songs written after the EP came out. So it was a slow burner, the album. But we had a sense of direction we wanted to go, we wanted a bit more melody involved and it was a lot easier with Alex in the band and Matt’s (Bauer, drums) got his very own style of drumming as well. He’s not your traditional metal drummer. He can play metal. We always set ourselves out that we didn’t want a great metal drummer, we wanted a drummer, a great drummer that can adapt to metal. So Matt brings his flair, everyone has their moments to shine on the album and we think it comes across quite well.

Listening to Born, you have loads of different metal styles you can hear, so what were the main styles you were drawing from when you were writing or is it a bit of everything?

Felix: I think it’s a bit of everything. It all starts with an idea right, it starts with like, Henry sends me a quick demo “I’ve just spent 30 seconds writing this riff!” and that’s like, that’s pretty sick! So it starts with an idea from probably myself, Henry or Alex, albeit a keyboard line, a little vocal hook or a riff. It was mainly riffs with the way it starts off. Then we bring it to the table, then we spend a bit of time and go off and develop those songs, and for Born it was a bit of a slower process. We’d spend more time on the structures and actually writing the songs themselves sometimes, so piecing things together at different times really.

Henry: The album is quite varied, some of the songs are, strange to say, more poppy influenced songs, so they’re fairly simple structures compared to some of the other songs which are not simple at all. So there are definitely different elements, but the idea for us is we wanted them all to work together and not be too much of a difference.

Felix: I’d probably say as well, for each of the songs you’ve got someone who personally headed the idea so they’re kinda like, in charge.

Henry: Of the direction.

Felix: Yea in charge of the direction and we develop the ideas together like team leader for the song. For example track 8, Over Now is actually a really old song written by Alex ages ago.

Really? Because that’s the poppiest song.

Felix: Exactly, haha exactly.

Henry: If you heard the first verse of that song…

Felix: Oh my god, bless him, it used to be a break up song when he was like, 20.

Henry: [sings] It was a love song.

Felix: Haha, yea it was a love song when he was like 20. I always thought it was a great song, I wasn’t too mad on the first batch of lyrics because they were a bit too soppy, let’s just say. But then it was like, this is a great song, you know the vocal hooks were there, it’s got some really cool atmospherics, he just came over to my house one day and we spent a whole afternoon just trying some riffs out and chop some things together. New middle eight, change the lyrics a bit [laughs] and then it was like, boom, there you go. But it’s still Al’s song, but we all wrote it together but he’s the team leader on that one I’d probably say. Everyone’s a team leader for each song.

I was thinking about, every time I listen to the album I always get a new favourite…

Felix: That’s good! That’s good.

…so first time it was Lucidity

Felix: That’s Henry’s.

And then it was Over Now and currently it’s Dear Emily.

Felix: Cool that’s my one. [laughs] You got one from each!

Haha! I did not plan this!

Henry: I think we’ve all done that at some point, when we listen back to it, it takes a long time to adjust, you lose perspective because obviously you play it so many times in the recording stage. When it’s finished, and when it’s mixed and mastered, it sounds different. So it takes you a long time to adjust to listening to it back. And I think we’ve all been close to having different favourites at different times. I don’t know what that means but I guess it’s a good thing.

Felix: Obviously when you’re in the writing mode and the recording mode, and even listening back to mixes constantly, you’re absorbed in your songs. I like to take long breaks from listening to it. And then the odd time I’ll go back to it and chuck on the album again and be like, “that’s a really cool part” or “that’s my new favourite song”. Yea the favourites change a lot.

How involved are you in the production of it? With your next album would you like to get more involved?

Henry: The next one is still up for discussion, it was definitely an advantage for us to record Born with guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, everything apart from drums at one of our houses. So that saved a lot of money and then we could be a lot more relaxed actually recording it and not have a time limit and spending extra money for going over. So that is definitely an advantage and having a quality producer like Matt Hyde who did Born, can make it sound like a studio album. You do hear about bands spending an insane amount of money on albums in the studio and compare with others and you think, well fair enough it’s a lot of money. But having a studio album has its advantages because if you go to a proper recording studio then there are certain things you’re never going to have in your house.

Felix: None of us are rolling in the dosh so we were very cost effective but you know, we spent a good amount of money into the record, invested quite a bit of our own money into it but when people hear it they’re probably wondering how much it cost. We were very diligent with our savings.

Henry: To answer your question, it has its ups and downs, we do like recording at home but maybe at some point we’d look at doing a full studio album.

Felix: If the opportunity arose I’d absolutely love to, but it just depends on the circumstances, who it’s with, where it is, how much it costs. Do we go in with no ideas, do we bring stuff on the table? It’s very circumstantial. I’d love to do a studio album at some point because I just think you probably, forgive the pun, but you’d probably give birth to a different type of album, so yea and a different type of album would be born…


Ok, so this year you’re already on this tour and you’re already set for ProgPower Europe, any other big plans? Or is there anything in particular you’d like to achieve as a band?

Henry: We’d like to do a lot more festivals in the summer, there’s a couple of things we can’t announce right now.

Felix: Is there?


Felix: We’ll try and make arrangements around ProgPower, we’d like to do something in and around Europe if it’s a possibility.

Yea, have you played Europe yet?

Felix: Yea, we’ve done Euroblast and we’ve done shows in Hamburg before…

Henry: We’ve played Ibiza.

Felix: Hard Rock Hell Ibiza. So we’ve done a few places in Europe before, but we’d like to do some surrounding European shows, I think that’s a personal target for the band, is to branch out to Europe, get some good festival slots and also do small headline runs. I don’t think we’re at the level to do shows all around the country doing headline runs, so we’re happy to get on bigger tours opening second supports. We want to do a headline run, but probably not 20 dates up and down the country.

Cool. Lastly, just what does Brutai mean?

Henry: We haven’t explained this in a long time [laughs]

Felix: [laughs] I mean I wish there was a great story, there really isn’t.

Henry: It’s named after a cat, let’s just get to it.

Felix: I have two answers, there is one that is true. And there’s one that sounds a lot better, and I’ve only discovered this recently actually. The name Brutai came about because at the time, probably about 10 years ago when me and Henry first started writing music together, we were a different band. We played different types of music, it was a lot heavier, it was a lot more kitted to the word ‘brutal’ and so ‘Brutai’ was just a play on the words and we just grew accustomed to the name and got a little following round our local circuit. So we just stuck to it, we changed our direction and changed our sound and matured but we just liked the name.

Henry: Yea it’s a cool word.

Felix: Do you want to hear the fake answer? Well, haha, there is a Shakespeare play…

Wait, wasn’t this heard on EastEnders recently?

Henry: Oh god.

Felix: [laughs] It was heard on EastEnders recently. There is a play with Julius Caesar, with a phrase when Julius Caesar is about to be murdered by one of his friends and the last thing Caesar said to his friend Brutus is “And you Brutus” which translates into Latin as “Et tu Brute” so, that’s a much better answer.

Henry: That’s a better answer!

Felix: So I might start using it, this might be the last time I use the real one.

Henry: Could be! Named after Shakespeare. Really intellectual.

Felix: It does sound a bit more intellectual doesn’t it. Named after Shakespeare. Named after a quote by Julius Caesar saying to his friend [posh voice] translated from Latin.

Henry: [laughs] Latin yes.

Felix: We used to play ‘brootal’ music so now it’s Brutai. And I used to call my cat Brutai as well. So the false answer might be making an appearance more. It sounds cooler!


Well there you have it. From motorhomes to Shakespeare, Brutai has it covered!


Devil You Know + Oni + Wearing Scars + Brutai

The Waterfront Studio, Norwich. 11th January 2017.

A night chock full of metal, growls and melodic howls, tonight felt a very special night, because one person was on everyone’s minds…Howard Jones. Hojo, along with his comrades in DEVIL YOU KNOW are currently on their first UK tour together (finally) and tonight they had rolled into Norwich to grace the city with their brutal tunes.

Kicking off the night were London metallers BRUTAI. Opening with Of Ashes, the band gave it their all from the off, slowly warming up the revellers coming in from the cold. When the main riff of Relapse resonated round the venue, it became clear just how well the band could execute their material from their debut album Born live. Frontman Felix Lawrie and keyboardist Alex Lorimer seriously impressed with their ability to harmonise vocals in a live setting and when the keys kicked in at the start of Lucidity, there were a lot of heads nodding along in appreciation. Singles Deep and Never Change also went down well with the crowd, their catchy brand of modern metal catching the attention of room. The chemistry between band members and their stage presence made a solid set from this promising group. They might have had the smallest crowd of the evening, but they put on a show like they were much higher up the bill. Their passion and showmanship didn’t go unnoticed by the Norwich crowd and it’s safe to say BRUTAI won over new fans tonight.

Next up were WEARING SCARS. Hailing from Northampton, this band featuring members of MUTINY WITHIN and SACRED MOTHER TONGUE brought the groove with plenty of heart. Frontman Chris Clancy sounded impeccable and along with his bandmates provided Norwich with material with a modern nu metal vibe. Having a PAPA ROACH air about them but none of the ego or bullshit surrounding it, WEARING SCARS were nothing but professional and it was clear they were happy to be here. Playing songs from their debut album A Thousand Words, the band played a solid set and sounded tight. By the end, the people of Norwich had been warmed up nicely.


No one was expecting what was to be witnessed next. “What’s that??” people were asking about the mystery instrument on stage for ONI’s set. Turns out it was only a badass xylo-synth! Soon the band stormed onto the stage in a flail of hair and limbs and the xylo-synth player John DeAngelis’ pink balls flying about on his synth sticks. This is not a gimmick however, this is progressive metal and ONI delivered an absolutely spellbinding set. A truly captivating band, it’s almost impossible to tear your eyes away from them, especially frontman Jake Oni who can only be described as sassy. His ability to switch between brutal vocals and smooth clean singing is something to be admired and he nails it flawlessly while he commands the audience’s attention. The rest of the band also launch a visual and aural assault with their energetic stage presence and their technical playing. Unleashing songs from their debut album Ironshore, the promising Canadian band leave Norwich a little bewildered but utterly on their side.

By now there was a real buzz in the air as the time had finally come to welcome DEVIL YOU KNOW to the stage. Bassist Ryan Wombacher (ex-BLEEDING THROUGH) and guitarist Francesco Artusato (ex-ALL SHALL PERISH) stepped onto the stage, then Howard Jones jumped on stage just as the band kicked off with opener Consume the Damned. To say the band were greatly received is a gross understatement as the crowd lapped it all up and went wild. Some more so than others, judging by the fights breaking out in the pit, but all headlocks aside, every one was having a jolly old time. “I’ve missed youuuu” Jones told the crowd before launching into the ferocious Embracing the Torture. As the entire room sang along to 7 Years Alone, Jones looked chuffed to bits and couldn’t hide his joy and appreciation to the fans for their support in between songs. The humble frontman reminded fans just what a force of metal he still is by owning the stage, with his screams and cleans resonating around the venue. He certainly hasn’t lost it. The chemistry between the band was tight yet relaxed, with banter aplenty it was a fun time for all. “This one is for the ladies!” Jones announced before he crooned along to Crawl From The Dark, but it was Way We Die which really got the crowd going. Finale, Shut It Down made sure everyone in chilly Norwich left hot and sweaty. Tonight had been well worth the wait and seeing a band with such collective talent in an intimate venue, was something special indeed.

Metalmance Top 20 Albums of 2016

A great year for metal! Who took the top spot?

Welcome to the first Metalmance Top 20 Albums! 2016 has been a hell of a year for metal this year, with lots of reunions and surprise releases. Not all entries will have a blog link due to Metalmance only being a third of a year old. So let’s get straight to it…


sleeping  No. 20  CANDIRIA – While They Were Sleeping                     

It’s good to have CANDIRIA back isn’t it? While They Were Sleeping is the band’s eighth album and their first on Metal Blade and it’s a reminder of the band’s refreshing metal mix of hardcore, prog, hip hop and jazz. If you’re new to CANDIRIA, then this album is a good start. Check out the link below to see what Metalmance said about the band’s video for the title track.

Weekly Roundup #4


a3458996965_10  No. 19  INCITE – Oppression

You can always rely on INCITE to provide some straight-up, relentless metal, and with their fourth album Oppression, the band continue to carve their own niche in the scene. This isn’t easy when you’re the stepson of metal god Max Cavelera, like frontman Richie Cavalera is, but INCITE are more than capable of thriving on their own. With an intense live show to match, INCITE should be one of your bands to watch.


kvelertaknattesferd  No. 18  KVELERTAK – Nattesferd

Every KVELERTAK release is an exciting bag of rock n roll, black metal and punk. This, being the Norwegian’s third album is no different but includes a glorious classic rock tinge to proceedings without losing any the original ferociousness the band are known for. Still raw, fast and exciting, KVELERTAK are still on the rise.


mortiis_cover  No. 17  MORTIIS – The Great Deceiver

Another welcome return in 2016 was MORTIIS with their new album The Great Deceiver. After a hiatus of almost five years, the new material was like reuniting with an old, industrial friend. The album has the timbre of Downward Spiral era NIN, but with a contemporary twist, all resulting in a pretty impressive album for the revival of industrial metal.


14040057_10154510824634759_8534743349618738043_n  No. 16  NOCETM – Haeresis

Stumbling upon Spanish extreme metallers NOCTEM was an excellent discovery this year. Their album Haersis is still bludgeoning the ears of Metalmance. Read a snippet of the review below and follow the link to the full review.

“Introducing NOCTEM, a black metal band that have more tricks up their sleeve than you might first perceive. They sound like all of your favourite extreme bands rolled into one delicious, morbid package, each track offering a new twist to proceedings.”

NOCTEM – Haeresis Review


nails_-_you_will_never_be_one_of_us  No. 15  NAILS – You Will Never Be One of Us

Probably the most unforgivingly brutal release of the year, NAILS winded metal fans around the world with the absolutely punishing You Will Never Be One of Us. Twenty minutes of sheer face-ripping, ear-pummelling metal, it never gives up for a second. This is how metallic hardcore punk should be done.


annisokay  No. 14  ANNISOKAY – Devil May Cry

One of Germany’s most promising metal exports, ANNISOKAY makes metalcore exciting again with their pure passion for their craft. Not afraid to include massive choruses, this young band can only get bigger with their irresistible melodies and crushing riffs.

“With the aggression of newer PARKWAY DRIVE and the melodic sensibilities of bands like SAOSIN and SILVERSTEIN, ANNISOKAY will appeal to fans across the melodic metal spectrum.”

ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care Review


lacunacoildeliriumcd  No. 13  LACUNA COIL – Delirium

Italy’s finest never disappoint. Still churning out masterpiece after masterpiece, LACUNA COIL have set their own bar high in the form of Delirium, their eighth album and heaviest to date. Based on narratives surrounding the abandoned asylum near to where the band live, the album is full of intensity and emotion. It still packs a punch over half a year later.

“The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time.”

Weekly Roundup #2


textures-phenotype-artwork  No. 12  TEXTURES – Phenotype

Four long years since their last release, TEXTURES finally dropped fifth album Phenotype back in February and it’s still a rewarding progressive metal album. Vocalist Daniël de Jongh is proving his worth with the absolute belters of New Horizons and opener Oceans Collide. Recorded simultaneously with the album Genotype which will be released next year, don’t be surprised if TEXTURES also feature on the list next year.


wallsofjerichonoonecd  No. 11  WALLS OF JERICHO – No One Can Save You From Yourself

Yet another band returning from a hiatus, Detroit’s WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself and it is a perfect return to form. The hardcore greats are as ferocious and as angry as ever and could easily show younger bands how it’s done. Welcome back.

“Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition.”

Weekly Roundup #3


brutai  No. 10  BRUTAI – Born

2016 finally saw the release of the debut album by London’s BRUTAI. It was well worth the wait, with its refreshing approach to the melodic metal genre making the band one to watch. With big riffs, big ideas and big choruses, BRUTAI pulls it all off with aplomb and passion. One of the UK’s brightest metal hopes.

“The future of British metal has indeed been born.”

BRUTAI – Born Review


a0651344947_10  No. 9  ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law

A band who never disappoint, ANAAL NATHRAKH returned this year with ninth album The Whole of the Law, which is quite possibly the band’s most punishing album to date (if that’s even possible). The brutality ramps up with each song, making The Whole of the Law an intense listen which rewards you with mutilated ears.

“A new ANAAL NATHRAKH album is always a joyous occasion – if joyous means the same as the sensation of having your face battered off by a shovel.”

ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law Review


dreamshade  No. 8  DREAMSHADE – Vibrant

A late treat in the year, DREAMSHADE’s third album Vibrant is a gloriously melodic affair with a whole lot of heart. Their passion for their music overspills in each song, ensuring you get wrapped up in their infectious metal and melodies. A great discovery for Metalmance this year.

“An album which shimmers with melodic metal perfection, this third offering from Swiss band DREAMSHADE is indeed a vibrant effort.”

DREAMSHADE – Vibrant Review


evergreythestormwithincd  No. 7  EVERGREY – The Storm Within

EVERGREY…dark, emotional, intelligent, melodic, heavy, progressive…and catchy too. Is this an album with everything?? Guest appearances from Floor Jansen? Check. Songs with a big heart? Check. Dark and moody atmosphere? Check. Intense and beautiful video accompaniments? Check!

“If you want some progressive metal which you can belt out around the house, then look no further than EVERGREY.”

Weekly Roundup #9


vola-inmazes-album-art  No. 6  VOLA – Inmazes

Technically a reissue through Mascot Label Group, it’s such a treat of an album it would have been rude not to have featured it in this year’s list. VOLA’s Inmazes features most of the year’s catchiest melodies and big choruses, with Stray The Skies still owning the most memorable keyboard hook in recent memory. A young band full of promise and potential, VOLA are ones to watch for sure.

“The young band from Copenhagen have already fine tuned their sound which incorporates chugging guitars giving way to soaring vocals and catchy keyboard hooks.”

VOLA – Inmazes Review


animalsasleadersmadnesscd  No. 5  ANIMALS AS LEADERS – The Madness of Many

Modern metal legends ANIMALS AS LEADERS dropped The Madness of Many a month ago and it is captivating and mesmerising audiences worldwide. Just listening to a few seconds of opener Arithmophobia will make you understand why. An album bursting with a stupid amount of musical talent, ANIMALS AS LEADERS have outdone themselves again. How will they ever be able to top this?

“The diversity of sounds on this album demonstrates how far the band push the boundaries of progressive music and composition itself, as far as utterly breaking free of limitations and creating the most mesmerising music which doesn’t seem possible by man.”

Weekly Roundup #11


0045778746064_png_1200x1200_q90_crop  No. 4  SAOSIN – Along The Shadow

Another band who ended their hiatus and released an album this year. With Along The Shadow, SAOSIN have created a modern, post-hardcore classic. There was always a risk of sounding run-of-the-mill or sounding too similar to CIRCA SURVIVE, but the band thankfully pulled out all the stops and released one of the year’s most surprising highlights. Heart wrenching songs, big riffs and even bigger choruses, they’re the kings of the new post-hardcore generation.

“The album is one hot nostalgic trip to the glory days of post-hardcore, but somehow they sound timeless.”

Weekly Roundup #13


ihsahn-arktis-e1450461123634  No. 3  IHSAHN – Arktis

Ihsahn needs no introduction. This year he almost reached perfection with Arktis, an album so full of twists and turns in extreme styles it is spectacular from start to finish. There are plenty of unexpected elements which feature in the album, including SHINING’s Jørgen Munkeby providing a cheeky bit of saxophone on Crooked Red Line and LEPROUS’ Einar Solberg providing the stunning vocals on closer, Celestial Violence. A modern classic, Arktis will astound listeners for many years to come.


635902518368165120  No. 2  PORT NOIR – Any Way The Wind Carries

Possibly the most exciting discovery for Metalmance this year, PORT NOIR is a band which is almost impossible to pigeonhole. With songs bordering on pop, then others edging towards CULT OF LUNA-esque riffs (see Black From the Ink) each song is a different melodic beast. Elements of funk, jazz and metal complete with the distinct vocals of frontman Love Andersson, make Any Way The Wind Carries a rewarding listen each time. For a trio, PORT NOIR have such a rich and deep sound you wonder at how they haven’t already cracked the mainstream. An album so diverse and well executed, Any Way The Wind Carries deserves its high ranking in this list.

“The level of melodic goodness doesn’t detract from the heaviness on the album, instead you feel like you’re listening to all of your favourite genres as they are all sprinkled into one tasty package.”

Weekly Roundup #5



No. 1  BLACK CROWN INITIATE – Selves We Cannot Forgive 

And here we have it! Metalmance’s album of the year! BLACK CROWN INITIATE’s Selves We Cannot Forgive has been on frequent rotation since its release. A truly spellbinding example of progressive death metal and its very best. An absolute beast of an album, it pummels you with its devastating riffs and ferocious drumming, then revives you through the utterly compelling clean vocals. The band mix slow and brooding, with fast and aggressive with such zeal the album is a seamless triumph of modern metal. Standout track Belie the Machine pulls you in with its entrancing introduction, you think you’re safe for a few minutes, then the band absolutely crush you with a catastrophic riff GOJIRA would be proud of. The title track shows the more melodic side of BLACK CROWN INITIATE, with its soaring vocals and piano accompaniment. A diverse and ambitious album, it deservedly owns its place at the top spot.

“This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget.”

Weekly Roundup #4

Brutai – Born

Label: Transcend. Release Date: 25th Nov 2016

This debut album by London’s BRUTAI is the equivalent of when you see an old friend from school, who has blossomed into a hottie. One brief listen to Born and you’ll think, ‘when did BRUTAI get so gooood?’ The signs were always there in their self-titled EP, but with this release the band are more comfortable and nurturing their own sound. A mature and solid album, this record has without doubt been worth the wait.

The album opens with guitar strokes reverberating in your ears while other instrumentation starts to sneak in. Then BAM! opener Relapse is well underway like a drum roll for the remainder of the album. The metalcore influences are there with a nature of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE but there is a definite contemporary edge to proceedings to prevent BRUTAI getting bogged down with such a label.

What’s hinted in Relapse comes to the fore in the single, Deep. Sounding like the lovechild of a poppier TESSERACT and INME, it is catchy as hell but poses no risk to a loss of punchiness. The production is superb with the instrumentation sounding crisp and clear without losing impact. Felix Lawrie’s vocals is nestled nicely into the mix along with the superb use of keys. It is this sprinkling of keys which give their sound an extra edge, with Of Ashes being no different. By this third track it is clear BRUTAI sound more confident with songs that are more coherent compared to earlier releases. It is hard not to compare some elements with fellow British metallers DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL and THE FIVE HUNDRED, but with an added bit of cheeky djent.

Lucidity is almost 5 minutes of expertly executed metal. The killer beginning to the song features piano and a killer guitar solo, a bit like AVENGED SEVENFOLD sans cheese. It is one of the most impressive and memorable tracks of the album, with a hearty chorus the likes of CHAOS DIVINE and WESTFIELD MASSACRE would be proud of. Lawrie’s vocals help give BRUTAI a distinct flare, that by the time Valediction starts playing, there’s no doubt the band are well on their way to developing their own signature sound.

New single Never Change is a glorious example of what BRUTAI have to offer with a soaring chorus and rich layers of sound to make the song sound massive. If this song isn’t a reflection of what the band are about then I don’t know what is.  Yet things take an interesting turn in Over Now. Starting with a bit of an 80s tinge, Lawrie practically croons his way through the song until it erupts into an absolute belter. Trust me, it’s a treat.

Album closer The Border is a 7 minute conclusion which sums up the tone of the album nicely. Incredible melodies and punishing riffs bring together BRUTAI’s clean style and raw edge seamlessly. When the track ends you’ll be left dumbstruck. What a debut.

The future of British metal has indeed been born.

Weekly Roundup #2

Some bands to warm your cockles in this autumnal week…

Band to watch: BRUTAI. Last week this promising metal band from London announced they had signed to Transcend records which was the cherry on top of a successful Summer. Over the past few months they have shared stages with the likes of TEXTURES and SOILWORK and played a storming set at Bloodstock Festival much to rave reviews. Their debut album Born will be released (or should that be ‘will be born’?) on 25th November 2016 through their new label and if it’s anything like their last single Deep then we are all in for a treat! Mixing melodic melodies and screams with metallic riffs and a touch of keyboard sprinkled over the top, results in a solid sound from the young band feeling more confident with their sound. There is certainly a British feel with elements of SIKTH and even INME seeping through into the song writing but BRUTAI manage to use their influences to their advantage to create music which will appeal to fans across both the rock and metal spectrum alike. This is surely the beginning of great things and with a tour due in January supporting metal greats DEVIL YOU KNOW and WESTFIELD MASSACRE, we can expect to see more of these London lads!

Video to watch: GHOST. You either love them or hate them, but you cannot escape this ghoulish rock band’s catchiness. The video to their new single Square Hammer from their EP Popestar is a fiendish delight. Their cinematic influences are on full display here as aesthetically, the video looks like it could have stepped straight out of the 1920’s era horror cinema. Fans will appreciate nods to cult classics Metropolis and Nosferatu in the video and GHOST along with director Zev Deans recreate this style to make their own grainy, spooky visual treat. The unnatural colours and fuzzy outlines add to the vintage style which compliments the song perfectly as Square Hammer is retro in feel and tone. If you adore them or despise them, there’s no doubt they are here to stay.


Most anticipated release: TRAP THEM. This Friday TRAP THEM will be releasing their fifth album Crown Feral through Prosthetic Records and it’s bound to be a raw, dark beast. This underground band from Boston and Seattle is hard to pigeonhole, and that’s a good thing! Taking hardcore, metal, punk, black metal, and even sludge, TRAP THEM mixes them up and fires out pure rage and aggression to create their own bleak, sonic soundscape. This band hint this album will include riffs inspired from their love of horror soundtracks, so expect a new type of unsettling darkness from this truly underrated band.

Still in the Stereo: LACUNA COIL. When eighth album Delirium dropped back in May, fans were greeted with a darker and heavier LACUNA COIL. Based around an abandoned asylum near to where the band live in Italy, the album is full of tales of illness, betrayal, death and the darker side of the human mind. The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time. But Christina Scabbia’s faultless voice provides a beacon of hope for all the darkness and woe. Video for single Delirium was released earlier this month and it reminded fans just what good form the band are in. The solid and polished production are what keeps pulling us back to the album and Scabbia’s soaring vocals still stun. Catch the band on tour in the UK this November.

Band to rediscover: OPEN HAND. It was announced last month that new material will be released soon, so this would be a good opportunity to remind the world just how good this band is. OPEN HAND are ridiculously talented songwriters and musicians with their crowning glory being the album You and Me released in 2005 on Trustkill Records. How this album wasn’t huge, I do not know. Its complex instrumental layers topped with gloriously slick and sweet melodies and catchy vocals is a bliss rock treat for any music lover. A couple of songs were graced with delicious male/female vocals which shaped such an irresistible boy vs girl sound (refer to songs Tough Girl and Tough Guy) that personally, no other male/female vocal has topped since. Go on, treat yourself and indulge in a bit of OPEN HAND.

Band yet to listen to: KROH. This doom band from Birmingham have been slowly working their way into the underground community’s conscience and have recently been added to the Damnation festival bill. Expect to hear more about these guys and gal soon.

Listened to anything good lately? Comment or email Metalmance!