Hi there, and welcome to a new feature* on (((o))) called “Consolation Corner” with me, your rotund host, John Sturm. This week we’ll start out by weeping into our beers about the new Black Sabbath album and then gratefully start tongue kissing the latest release from Swedish/Norwegian blues rock outfit Brutus called Behind The Mountains who really have shown the old men how it’s done.
Lazy comparisons aside (hey, if I cop to it you can’t use it against me, HA!) there’s much more on offer here than the same old Sabbath retreads. Yes, the comparisons are inevitable simply from the very sound of Brutus. The band have displayed their sonic influences with their mixing choices and recording choices. This is an album that sounds like it’s from the 70s (hence the Sabbath references) but whereas Sabbath started out as a blues band and morphed into metal masters, Brutus have simply set out to refine the blues rock sound of that era and bring it to a new generation. Excellent work chaps.
Opening with ‘The Witches Remains’ with its slow funereal pace and wailing vocals is a real statement of intent. The band are very clearly staking their flag in the ground and saying to the you, the listener, this is what we do, this is how we do it. Ready? A few nifty tempo changes keeps the song on its feet and the listener guessing. Later on we have some fabulous harmonica playing in ‘Crystal Parrott’ which is then bested by a twisty turning riff and a lovely stop start riff. The rawness of this alum is one of it’s selling points. It’s sweaty men in a room laying some groove and blues onto tape and that’s it really. There’s a fantastic moment midway through album closer ‘Can’t Help Wondering Why’ when the whole song veers perilously close to falling apart. It’s about an inch from collapsing on itself. But it’s pulled back at the last second. Brilliant stuff.
With their feet firmly rooted in blues and hard rock this is a joyous album to listen to. A reminder that not all music needs to be Pro Tools-ed to death and that simple straight forward rock is just as fulfilling as the most complicated mathprogcoremazeriff (© Me) can be. In fact there is a beauty in the simplicity of Behind The Mountains. It’s no-frills. It turns up on your turntable (oh yes….) kicks it’s flares back and gives you 45 minutes of great tunes to drink a beer to. Then it buggers off so you can sit and dissect the dissonant tonal qualities of the last 3 Tool albums. But really… secretly.. you’ll be thinking of Brutus. You will. Trust me.
* “This is a lie.” Echoes & Dust Editor