The UK’s Brutai are setting up to release their debut album Born in just a few short weeks. Packed away on this innocuous album, whose cover art feels like a strange extension of Skyharbor‘s Guiding Lights, are ten crushing tracks that will enamor listeners from beginning to end.
Where Born truly succeeds is offering itself in an easily-divided, readily-consumable package. That is to say that the album is equally pleasant presented as its own listening experience, but each track readily stands on its own in whatever setting it might choose. From mid-tempo jams to something a little more accelerated, each track goes down easy, as if drinking various flavors of complementing tea samples in succession or enjoying a full cup of each one on its own—robust, flavorful, and rarely disappointing.
All five members of Brutai really came together on the record, thoughtfully pitching ideas and (likely) agonized over the songwriting process in order to produce an album that is a meticulously-crafted vision of years of work. Each track on Born feels slaved over, each bar prudently created, each riff a conversation once held, asking, “Do you think this is good? How about this instead?” Everything here coalesces into a perfectly saturated mid-tempo metal album that borders on something that could see radio play in the mainstream—which is by no means a bad thing.
There’s a certain appeal with Born that allows it to be aggressive, but still show a softer side of an umbrella that goes woefully dismissed in genres like power metal. Brutai, branding themselves as a progressive rock/metal band, take a more restrained approach to a genre that is quite laden with overcompensation, taking songwriting to ridiculous levels instead of unified visions presented here. Essentially, Brutai have taken the djent out of djent and offered up strong, progressive-style music without the overuse of palm mutes and forgoing the masturbatory wank that is often associated with the genre. What we’re left with is straightforward album that comes in, does what it’s meant to do, does it well, and in no way overstays its welcome.
The most disappointing aspects of Born are the instances where the band chooses harsh vocal routes. They aren’t necessarily bad, by any means, but they seem strangely out of place juxtaposed alongside vocalist Felix Lawrie‘s evermore beautiful cleans. It sort of betrays the alternative influence found on Born, attempting to inject an aggression that perhaps belongs more in the lyrics themselves or the music rather than the vocal style. It’s not necessarily bad, but feels misplaced.
Brutai’s Born is an excellent example of progressive metal done in a thoughtful, restrained manner. It hits all the right notes and offers many moments that are rife with emotion or simply instances with that riff that will get you banging your head. There’s definitely something to enjoy for everyone on Born. Brutai knocked it out of the park.