New Reviewer Chris Cleo took a virtual trip to Manchester to review the debut release of BruteAllies.. heres what he thought –
The debut release ‘Ash and Nails’ by Manchester death-thrash outfit ‘BruteAllies’ brings a fresh outlook on the merging of two of metal’s most intense sub-genres. Despite running just under half an hour, BruteAllies manages to pack a fair number of varying influences into what can only be described as a dynamic release. The mix of groove-thrash elements with melodic and tech-death flavours separates BruteAllies’ own flavour of death-thrash from the style of the monumental death-thrash albums; and while this is no sequel to ‘Spectrum of Death’ or ‘Darkness Descends’, there is certainly an aggressive atmosphere that BruteAllies create within their own musical realm.
Of the six tracks on this album, each track has notable stylistic differences. The opener ‘Invasion’ and the groove-laden ‘Mad Elephant’ follow simpler structures, with more recognisable verse-chorus sections that chug along with a more typical groove-thrash style that feed into crushing thrash beats. Placement of songs that are easier to follow help identify definitive points throughout the albums runtime, showing how BruteAllies have really taken the time to make sure the songs don’t all converge into a thirty-minute string of riffs, which can really hinder an album.
The other tracks showcase the number of other influences that are interjected. ‘Dark Army’ stands out, where the groove riffs meander through blisteringly fast melodic-thrash riffs that give off a Necrophagist feel that climax to a wonderfully melodic harmonised solo that plays off and trades with the underlying riff. Where ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Lost Souls’ that meander through various areas of light and shade using melody whilst still retaining an aggressive atmosphere, the album climaxes with ‘Nemesis’ a tune that in under three minutes packs blisteringly thrashy riffs, a clean section and multiple dissonant breakdowns.
These intricacies are what makes ‘Ash and Nails’ a fresh listen. It is evident that the band have put time into carefully constructing songs, and that leads fit with the sections they accompany. This is only reinforced by the level of proficiency shown in the performances of each instrument. The creativity of the drum parts show variations of tried-and-true thrash beats, and how they help to enhance the solid, albeit mainly simplistic riffing style (which is by no means a bad thing). The closed hi-hat rhythms cut through and add a syncopated feel to what would otherwise be typical slayer-esque thrash rhythms, and the omission of snare hits in blast beat sections show relation between the riffs and the beats that accompany them. The vocals are delivered in typical low death-metal screams with overlaying high screams that help to highlight certain lyrical sections, and the bass helps to keep the rhythm section sounding resonant when the guitars move into the higher register.
An interesting take on a cult-classic oriented subgenre of metal wrapped up in a clean modern production package might leave more to be desired by the most fanatical of death-thrash fans, but BruteAllies certainly manage to mark their territory on the death-thrash playing field. Overall an enjoyable listen that manages to strike both the creative side and the level of aggression that is necessary to be deemed a death-thrash release.
Ash & Nails is available in all the normal places from the 27th November 2020