Norwegians Brotthogg debut album Echoes Of The Past gained a lot of attention deservedly in 2019. And now, according to expression “strike the iron while it’s hot”, the band releases its second longplay The Die Is Cast.
“…we continue to improve our witches’ brew of everything we consider to be the best attributes of extreme metal. – states the band, – We aim to offer our listeners the duality of the melodic and the aggressive, the heroic and the chaotic, the moderate and the technical, all in one fine mixture.”
Brotthogg is multi-instrumentalist and composer Kristian Larsen Moen (Subliritum, ex-Hinn Mesta, ex-Toxic), vocalists Jonas Moen (Subliritum, ex-Hinn Mesta) and Craig Furunes (Chton, Demontera) and solo-guitarist Stephen Carlson. I don’t know how the band will perform live with such line-up but I’m sure they will find a good solution for it.
Nevertheless, let’s get back to album: The Die Is Cast is a real Black and Death Metal bacchanal, with some Thrash Metal elements and melodic solos, greatly performed and recorded qualitatively. Obviously, Blackened Death isn’t something new, but the question here is not “what?” but “how?” Brotthogg merges some inappropriate at first sight elements in such masterful way so it becomes clear: there is a tremendous work behind this album. The opening track “Nocturne” after a short atmospheric intro brings down some fast and malicious Black Metal riffs on the listener with growls from one of vocalists (for my sorrow, I didn’t figured out to whom belongs each voice). Guitars move from Black to Death and return back and keyboards create an atmosphere. The second vocal is groovier and I’d say more emotional. Melodic solo that seemingly has no place in Blackened Death, sounds seamlessly here and isn’t rejecting at all. The next one “Behind The Gateways” with good bass line and fast drumming also sounds as evil and merciless Black Metal and has some strange melody in the end of the track.
“Liberation”, probably the most melodic song in The Die Is Cast (some kind of Blackened Melodic Death Metal), transmits the mood of hellish bacchanalia greatly. The atmosphere of infernal mirth can be felt through the whole song when melodic solo with fast riffs and drums exacerbate this mood. “Draugen” slows down the pace but still sounds potently, causing the feeling of something inexorable. It looks like typical Black Metal song, but here we got lots of melodic solos, absolutely unnecessary here but nevertheless it works. All of this is aggravated in “Forlis”: the bans takes a couple of completely different pieces of music and merges them into one song. The connection is so seamless that sometimes you can hardly notice the transfer from one to another; this is the band’s schtick and the excellence of Kristian Larsen Moen as composer and musician as well.
Two last songs are also quite surprising: “Resurrection”, started in a quite fast pace, aims to Prog a little bit and then goes Thrash meanwhile the keyboards on the background sound unusual but not so alien. The ending track “Iacta Alea Est” starts with Thrash Metal and sone Death elements are added later. The song sounds really fast and aggressive. Guitar solo isn’t melodic here for a change but quite expected from such music. And in the end the band increases tempo and the song transforms fully to Death Metal with some good drumming.
There is a lot of music this time and it became more and more complicated to create something really interesting and outstanding but Brotthogg somehow manage to do it. They didn’t invent some new genre and not pretending to. But merging different, sometimes dissenting things, they really stand out against other bands. If they will continue this way, I think it just a matter of quite short time to see Brotthogg between other titans of Blackened Death.
The Die Is Cast will be released on August, 1.
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