Monday, 11 June 2012

BRUTALITY - When The Sky Turns Black (1994)

01  When The Sky Turns Black
02  Race Defects
03  Awakening
04  Electric Funeral
05  Foul Lair
06  Screams of Angish
07  Esoteric
08  Artistic Butchery
09  Violent Generation
10  Shrine of the Master

'When The Sky Turns Black' is the second album by American band Brutality and was released in July 1994 via Nuclear Blast Records. The group's second European tour followed in support of Bolt Thrower.

Looking back, Brutality seemed to be a victim of the Death Metal explosion during the early 90s, lost amongst a sea of other extreme bands even though they were far superior to many of them, especially their American counterparts. Perhaps their more intelligent lyrics weren't shocking enough to draw the attention that the likes of Cannibal Corpse garnered. Their style and quality are consistent with the Floridian scene, no-nonsense death metal with some above-average lead guitar work. Since their last album in 1996 they've been reported as disbanded and then reforming countless times, with their most recent comeback effort cut short in June 2008. Whatever the case, Brutality managed to release three incredible albums in the space of three years and should not be forgotten.

Like 'Screams of Anguish', there are a couple of moderately brief instrumental passages here in "Awakening" and "Esoteric", both tasteful and driven by the clean, acoustic guitar tones. They've also included a cover of Black Sabbath's "Electric Funeral", which it turns out is pretty damn effective as a death/doom hybrid, but most of my favorite tracks here come later on the recording: the staggering, oft bursting "Foul Lair", the meaty fortitude of "Artistic Butchery", or the pulverizing climax "Shrine of the Master".

If I'm comparing WTSTB to 'Screams of Anguish', then I'd have to place this slightly behind the debut. There are still some barriers restraining it from the status of a masterpiece, primarily the fact that the majority of its guitar riffs are not individually distinct or masterful enough to scale that height and the vocals don't have as much character to them this time round. However, in every other department, this band absolutely soared and they were also a phenomenal live force to boot. Should appeal to fans of Obituary, Benediction and Morbid Angel.

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