Album: Behind The Mountains
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Blues rock
Release Date: June 14th 2013
Brutus, a part-Swede and part-Norwegian quintet have released their second CD Behind The Mountains. With this release, the Scandinavians take us back to the pure sound of blues rock and roll from the 1970s.
Witchcraft, Pentagram, early Black Sabbath and Cream are among the bands that sparked the formation and development of Brutus, and this means that they stand for psychedelic hard rock that is 100% ProTools-free, groovy and butterfingered.
Besides the obvious main musical theme that is blues rock on Behind The Mountains, there are elements of stoner rock, psychedelic rock, 60s and 70s pop culture and a dash of old school doom metal. More than anything, Brutus make rock music with riffs that refer to the classic rockbands of the 70s, with a lot of soul and groove. Think bikers, bears and big mugs of beer, or rocking crowds at summer festivals. There's a slight sniff of Motörhead in the air of Brutus.
Brutus are by all means a rocking blues band, but as they borrow from all great rock bands, they lack their own sense of originality to make them stand out. As of now, they mostly sound like a band that is covering the sound of a lost era, a compilation of past successes.
On Behind The Mountains, the vocalist is not articulating very well, so that the lyrics go lost. Even though slurred speech pairs nicely with the sticky bluesy chords, as a listener I do would like to hear to story of the tracks.
The album opens with “The Witches Remains”, a track in which the slow old school doom of Black Sabbath is invoked, based on a steady riff that pushes the track along. The second track “Personal Riot” has all the ingredients of a classic rock track: a vocal line that smells to Led Zeppelin and riffs that could be borrowed from Deep Purple and a steady drum and bass line that keeps it all together, and forms the single of Behind The Mountains.
One of the most interesting tracks on the album, where Brutus dare to go beyond the tailored 70s sound, is “Blue Pills”. The opening chords invoke Jefferson Airplane, but the overall low speed makes it a hangover-infused ballad. There is something menacing about the way the vocalist croons “there's a storm coming in” that pierces right below the heart. The guitar solo refers to the dreamy sound of Pink Floyd.
The final track “Can't Help Wondering Why” is another strong track on the album, in the style of Led Zeppelin, but with a twist to the traditional 70s take.
The beautiful cover artwork by Maarten Donders deserves a special mention here. It invokes the 1970s, beard, bell-bottoms and retro cars as much as the music on Behind The Mountains.
Overall, if you love the sound of 70s rock music, you can buy Behind The Mountains by Brutus with your eyes and ears closed – just don't expect too much surprises, originality or explorations beyond the standard format of 70s rock.
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