Metal Review – Brutal Blues: Brutal Blues

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Metal Review – Brutal Blues: Brutal Blues
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Brutal Blues: Brutal Blues
Grindcore
Selfmadegod Records
May 22nd, 2014
Release length: 15:17
SoundCloud
Brutal Blues is a relatively new Grindcore band that have teased their sound through smaller releases that have been made available to steam through their SoundCloud account. They’re a two-piece outfit that consist of guitarist and vocalist Steinar (Psydoku, BxSxRx, as well as drummer and vocalist Anders (Blodsprut, Noxagt). Together they have inked a deal with Poland’s Selfmadegod Records to unleash their debut self-titled mini-album for 2014, which was recorded at Rifferiet in Norway in a DIY fashion. Anders himself handled the mixing, and the artwork was taken care of by Steinar and Leon Tomatis. But with a heavy buzz around the underground and the press release praising them as a “revolutionary Grindcore act,” but are they truly that big a game changer to the genre, or is this effort something far less inspiring?

That aforementioned DIY recording process nicely captures the intensity one would come to expect from the style, as well as accentuate the more experimental, even Avant-Garde tactics the duo introduce a little later on. “Skjold” starts off as your every day blast beat fuelled assault with distant nasal screams that take a back-seat to the twang of the bass, rich distortions and strong drum presence. There are some odd effects about a minute in that end up kind of hard to explain other than like a beeping or scraping on plastic. The timing of the drum patterns is well worth taking note of as well, though they only get better the deeper in you get. “Stafett” sticks to that simpler Grindcore appeal as well, but instead of coming off as if trying to do something different, it plays more into a standard mixture of Grindcore with catchy Mathcore and simple static effects.

“Rett” finds the drum patterns and some of the chords ushering in technical madness that can best be described as early Punk laced Fantomas after Mike Patton discovered rich, heavy vocal echoes. All of this literally applies to “Medalje” as well, though throw in some additional astral effects towards the end for good measure. “Tradisjon” also finds wailing vocals that keep into the rhythm while fading in and out, as if screaming in one’s own head during some kind of mental breakdown that is further accentuated through tense b-movie Science Fiction pitches in the background that grow louder as you reach the end of the performance, all before wrapping up with “Alminnele Utsegn,” another technical Grindcore offering with a hint of Punk in some of the chords before closing with some of the atmospheric elements that first song started this experience with.

While Brutal Blues ends up an interesting and welcome take on the Grindcore genre, it doesn’t show a band that’s really doing anything too “revolationary” with their sound. In fact they seem to be years behind the aforementioned Avant-Garde legend, just without the silliness and with a more artistic display of synthesizers and vocal effects during it’s rise similar to what can be found on the recently discovered stage performance by Claes Andersson, Kalevi Seilonen, Erkki Kurenniemi, Otto Donner titled Sähkö-shokki-ilta (which stands for Electro-Shock-Evening). When you break it all down, you can tag Brutal Blues and their self-titled mini-album with Technical, Experimental and Avant-Garde prefixes to the Grindcore title, but when you break it all down the best way to sum it up would be “Fantomas Art Student Hipster Grindcore.”

In short, there just isn’t much originality here at all, not to mention only a few tracks that are actually enjoyable thanks to the savior that is the group’s extremely tight precision on timing structures and how it all comes together with blistering drums and too few nods to raw Punk aggression. If you’re heavily into Grindcore and want a little more than your standard blast beat induced acts of Napalm Death or Nasum worship, then Brutal Blues is an interesting experience for a few spins. Sadly, beyond that, there isn’t really anything that will stay lodged in your head.

01. Skjold – 1:43
02. Rett – 1:52
03. Stafett – 3:39
04. Medalje – 2:43
05. Tradisjon – 2:18
06. Alminneleg Utsegn – 3:02
Initial Pressing Score: 5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Selfmadegod Records via Earsplit PR.