Tuesday 19 March 2013

Icons Of Brutality- Between Glory And Despair (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 22/2/2013
Label : Cyclone Empire

Between Glory & Despair, album tracklisting:

1 – Just Let Them Burn
2 – Between Glory And Despair
3 – Accompanied By Attrition
4 – Icons Of Brutality
5 – Built To Grind
6 – Unleashed By The Carnifex
7 – Right Leg Solution
8 – Sacred Days Of Tyranny
9 – Battalion 666


In 2009 Jimme, Jeunis (both Ex-ABSORBED), Knolle and Robert formed an alliance in order to play their favourite style of old school death metal. Their plan to play this brutal, heavy and deadly kind of music, resulted in a foetal version of what nowadays is the ultimate war-machine called Icons of Brutality. Some first, hardcorefueled songs were written and two gigs played.

Shortly after these gigs drummer Robert decided to leave in order to concentrate on his other band REAL HATE. Fortunately the ranks were closed swiftly as former GRINDMINDED drummer Bakvet joined the chapel of madness. Also second guitarist Appe was added to the line up. And now - behind every canon a man - ICONS OF BRUTALITY set ablaze a seething fire.

They focussed completely on writing new material and entered Fredde Kaddeth's Dirty Bird Studio in the winter of 2011/2012  to record their first album. Influenced by several old school DM-gods like Bolt Thrower, Vader, Dismember etc. and with a great production like many early 90's Swedish DM-bands, "Between Glory and Despair" will crush and conquer the world in 2013

Line - up
Erwin aka Bakvet - Drums
Jeroen aka Jeunis - Lead Guitar
Bert aka Appe – Rhythm Guitar
Richard aka Knolle - Bass
Jim aka Jimme - Vocals

The Netherlands has given us some denizens at the forefront of death metal. Icons Of Brutality are the newest addition to that list. Want some old school death metal with some crusty rock n roll vibes thrown in? Read on. The album starts with a distinctly old school blast/thrash beat. There is a solo within the first minute. The drums sound live and not sound replaced/fed through a computer. As “Just Let Them Burn” finishes the title track hits the listener with slow death/doom vibes, reminiscent of Asphyx or even Obituary. Things then pick up to a kind of mid pace, and of course the pace goes much faster before the track is done.

“Accompanied By Attrition” follows with a fast start and some accomplished riffing. The sound is raw and dirty, the bass metallic and distorted. Perfect for this kind of death metal. There is some Entombed flavour to the riffs on offer here- but this is not Swedish DM by any means. Indeed the vibe is closer to maybe Bolt Thrower or similar, albeit with fast blast sections. “Icons Of Brutality”, surely the band's mission statement or calling card, if you will, follows and punches the listener repeatedly with all that makes DM great: Motorhead-esque raucousness, solos, time changes, throat shredding vocals and a certain rawness. There are even some more melodic riffs here (but In Flames this is NOT). “Built To Grind” follows with more Bolt Thrower type rhythms and no small amount amount of fury. There are pinch harmonics here along with excellent guitar interplay and that excellent bass tone. A bit of a crust element is here too- and welcome it is too.

With the album past the half way point there is no let up for the listener. Indeed, the tracks continue at a good clip that keeps you interested and plays to the strength of this type of death metal; short sharp shocks of adrenaline. Any more than nine tracks is not really needed and thus nine tracks is what we get.
“Unleashed By The Carnifex” starts with a sample then some quick blast beats and nifty changes of riffs and time signatures. There is even some clean guitar in here giving a mournful vibe to proceedings amidst the carnage.

The oddly titled “Right Leg Solution” displays some excellent death growls and screams from vocalist Jim aka Jimme as the band keep things tight and seemingly live. Beast of a riff at 2:20 too. “Sacred Days Of Tyranny” starts with some purposeful thrashing and then slows the pace down for the horrific vocals before blasting off into the stratosphere again. The changes come thick and fast and are executed well- the timing needed to do this as a band requires their practice and your respect. “Battalion 666” closes the record in fine style with some lurching thrashing and an inhumanly low vocal (literally?).

If bands like Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Entombed and other Euro death are your thing I strongly recommend that you get hold of this album. It is a vicious blast of true DM with actual riffs, and an actual band playing them with a very old school vibe throughout. If you think that death metal is about riffs, playing fast kick drums, wearing camouflage trousers or shorts combined with combat boots, having either very long hair or a shaved head and possibly taking steroids to become inhumanly muscled then this band is for you... Just like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Asphyx, Autopsy and Entombed were all those years ago. Oh, I almost forgot- there is an Iron Cross on the front cover. Boxes all ticked, then!

Words by : Richard Maw

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the record here and is available everywhere now.  Thanks to Jan @ Sure Shot Worx.