I’m not the writer that’s going to get into the politics and intricacies of brutal death metal. Rather, I will take a look at Brutus’ 2016 release Murwgebeukt through a purely musical lens. Further, while I can assume their lyrics and topics are not my own and are potentially adverse to my personal stances (based on the cover art) they sing in their native language which I will never be able to understand no matter how many hours I spend with Rosetta Stone. So, with that said, we explore the gruesome musical brutality of Brutus.
Hailing from The Netherlands, Brutus has been on an extended hiatus. In 2006 their drummer, Ploegbaas passed away at the age of twenty-five by way of suicide by train. Obviously, that’s enough to rattle a band even one that spends most of their lyrics talking about gore, torture, murder and rape. So, understandably, it took the members a while to regroup. They did so by marching on and bringing in Exivious drummer Yuma van Eekelen to handle the kits on their long awaited sophomore release Murwgebeukt. It’s no easy feat considering that by the band’s own admission Maarten “Ploegbaas” Luysterburg was the fuel behind the machine that is Brutus.
The result of the regroup and re-emersion into the scene of brutal death metal / goregrind sixteen track album spanning over fifty-four minutes. The album is, as advertised, brutal as all hell. Significantly longer than the 2004 debut LP Slachtbeest which featured ten tracks that ran just over thirty-one minutes. Despite the addition of nearly twenty-five extra minutes of tracks, there is no letdown. The drums, tuned tightly and tinny are assaultive throughout blasting and grinding away.
Vocals on the album are expectantly grotesque. Layered with growls, reptilian snarls and a Florida style death metal reminiscent of bands like Generichrist, Brutus delivers on the brutality. There are also, mixed oh-so-quietly under the vocals, sounds of pain and cries of torture to help set the mood (as if the spastic guitars and blasting drums weren’t enough).
In all, there isn’t much to say. Brutal death metal and goregrind are genres, rather sub-genres, that don’t provide a tremendous amount of variation. The vocals are the driving factor, providing diversity of sound and attack while the guitars remain compressed, digital sounding with a tunnel like effect. Brutus provide excellent musicianship, unending energy and near b-grade horror film soundtrack-like experience. Certain to eviscerate, horrify and nauseate that average listener.