Saturday 22 June 2013

Brutus - Behind The Mountains - Review

Brutus: Behind the Mountains CD

Behind The Mountains

Svart Records
14 June 2013

The band:

Jokke Stenby
Johan Forsberg
Kim Molander
Knut-Ole Mathisen
Christian Hellqvist

The songs:

The Witches Remains 4:58
Personal Riot 3:54
Big Fat Boogie 3:43
Blue Pills 6:11
Square Headed Dog 4:39
Mystery Machine 3:48
Crystal Parrot 4:13
Reflections 6:57
Can't Help Wondering Why 6:41

Now this is an interesting combination. Brutus are part Swedish, part Norwegian and Behind The Mountains, their current album is out on Svart Records, a great Finnish label. Talk about Northern flair indeed! The band focus heavily on 70's tinged classic rock and it's groovy as hell. Witchcraft and Graveyard springs to mind because they all have the same approach in everything they do. I can only imagine what they sound like live because to me they have managed to capture that live feeling in the studio. Even though you have never seen a band on stage you can still hear when they create that while recording. Very good indeed!

The Witches Remains sets off this beast of an album and somewhat akin to Burning Saviours Brutus spares no one as they steamrolls their way into my mind with an excellent display of greatness. Not superfast they still rock out in parts where the twin guitar attack is very inspiring. Personal Riot is definitely a trip down memory lane to the mid-70's. A bit of a nod to the late great The Hellacopters this is a faster rockier track than it's predecessor. Next up is Big Fat Boogie which stays very true to it's name albeit even faster than the two previous tracks. This is a fantastic song that has me playing air guitar while doing something akin to freestyle hippie dancing. Awesome folks!

Bringing down the tempo quite a bit Blue Pills is trippy, kind of bluesy and there's a guitar solo around the 3 minute mark that reminds me so much of Gary Moore at his very best. And that's a good thing in my opinion since Gary is one of my favourite guitar players. Square Headed Dog retains the bluesy feel although it shifts up the speed just a notch. And it is heavy as hell with some fantastic solos again. An almost Black Sabbath-y riff kick starts Mystery Machine and it continues throughout the song. There are also hints of old style heavy metal in certain sections whereas the phrasing of the vocals reminds me of Nicke Andersson. And again I sound like a broken record but the solos, actually the guitar work is absolutely fantastic not only on this track but on the entire album.

Don't know if it's just me but Crystal Parrot sounds like a mix of Led Zeppelin fronted by a young and still good-sounding David Coverdale. The addition of the harmonica is excellent as it adds even more flavour to this amazing song. Reflections is slower, moody and a bit trippy with some traces of blues and it absolutely crushes as it builds up to a furious crescendo. Last stop is Can't Help Wondering Why and Brutus couldn't have picked a better song to end this great album. Full of great riffs and solos, the rhythm sections crushes while the Hammond organ adds to their already 70's feel.

Behind The Mountains was an extremely nice surprise when it arrived in my mailbox because I had never heard of Brutus before. But from the moment I pressed played this Scandinavian mutt blew me away and then some. Being part of the retro scene that is flourishing right now Brutus stand out by the excellence of their musicianship and their fantastic song writing skills. Give me more y'all!!!

Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Svart Records for sending a copy for us to review. Much apprecaited.

Behind The Mountains is now available to buy on Svart Records now on CD and LP,

Check The Band At The Following Links