The Maddening by Bruxa Maria

Release date: March 4, 2020
Label: Hominid Sounds

I saw Bruxa Maria a few years ago at a festival, I think it might have been Raw Power, I don’t really remember. The first thing that stood out to me about this album is that I don’t remember them being this heavy, perhaps I’m wrong, but off the bat, The Maddening is pretty intense and I like it.

There are kind of three chapters in this album, the first comprises the four initial tracks which are just fucking batshit, wild and relentless. They’re kind of lo-fi sounding, like old school thrash metal almost, but it does add to how fucking jank it is as an album. I feel like Bruxa Maria are probably people I would get along with well, but that’s purely on the basis of how savage they are with their performance. The tracks are full of tremeloing, fat riffs, bone-snapping drumming and harsh screaming. I love that they just bludgeon the listener for basically the first twenty minutes.

‘Brutal Attack’ is basically the perfect embodiment of the album, it is for the most part a frenzied assault on the senses. I would like to hear the riffs in greater clarity and more melody but, I feel like they can do that on another album. ‘The Maddening’ seems to be a calculated attempt to overwhelm and unsettle the listener; however, it is not without catharsis. ‘Manual Labour vs Office Dickheads’ kind of reminds me of 80s underground punk and speed metal. I literally can’t understand a single word anyone is singing or screaming. Though I don’t really feel it matters, I would love to have more of an idea of the thematics and connect with the band on a deeper level. I think overall ‘Mr Hardcore Lives Next Door’ is probably my favourite track, I love the head-banging rhythm and the bass on it and as with the others it’s fucking merciless.

‘Pushed To The Brink Of Madness Then Demonised’ transitions the album into another kind of chapter, the layering of vocals samples and low instrumental roars like a chainsaw remind me of early Marilyn Manson, i.e Portrait/Smells Like Children-era. As the track progresses it becomes a more formal industrial piece, evocative of bands like Test Dept and kind of harsh noise-esque too. The title’s name, gives me even more desire to explore the lyrics. Obviously being someone who plays and reviews music, I’ve struggled with my own mental health and I feel like this album offers a colossal amount of vitriol for the stigma that faces those who are struggling with their mental health…and I want in.

‘The Shock Into Behold!’ is great because it strips some of the noise away to let us hear what’s going on under the hood a bit better. Realistically, it’s more like a lifting a rock up and watching insects squirm around underneath. It’s actually a pretty repulsive track, I love it. I love the chords they’re using and the high pitch oscillations and just how hard everything drops. I feel like I must’ve just head-banged through the whole set last time I saw these guys, it’s a shame I can’t remember that period in time much at all. Maybe they sounded very different…I don’t know. I bet this is fucking amazing live though, so fucking awesome!

‘Love And Riots’ seems to be back on the same wavelength as the first four tracks, it’s almost like a new equilibrium for the album, where everyone plays super hard and fast again. However, that’s not really the case ‘cause ‘The Void’ is a lot more like ‘The Shock Into Behold!’, the drums really stand out on this one, playing a slower, more tribal beat, as do the kind of gothic vocals. The ending of this track is a fucking face-melter. I love it! That drummer is incredible and whatever that synth or whatever the fuck it is that sounds like someone using ‘Bio2’ on Final Fantasy 7 is that is fucking sick as well. The final song on the album is ‘Zaragoza’, this track also has a pretty epic ending, but I would definitely have swapped it round with ‘The Void’ to go for the big finish rather than taper the album off. The album is so relentless, that I feel like they let the listener off easy at the end a bit, but with that said, I have a far more masochistic taste in music than most people and basically want my music to crush me aurally and emotionally as much as possible. I imagine a lot of people will appreciate the light relief at the end.

Overall, The Maddening gives me a strong desire to go and see Bruxa Maria live. As an album, it’s definitely gonna be going on my heaviest playlists and I think it asserts them as a band that makes some of the most intense music around at the moment. I would love to hear them with more clarity and with more melody and overt choruses but, this album isn’t about that. This album is fucking repulsive and I love it. I will be delving further into this band for sure.

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