Massacres: Brutus

  • Artist:Massacres
  • Title:Brutus
  • Format Reviewed:MP3
  • Format Released:5th February 2016
  • Reviewed By:Adam DT

A good debut EP so regularly offers raw potential rather than class. This is not the case with Massacres’ first release, Brutus. The four piece hardcore outfit have come straight out of the blocks with fourteen minutes of relentless, riff-driven, southern swagger-influenced hardcore that really isn’t fucking about.

Undoubtedly Massacres owe a debt to some great bands: opening track One Of The Boys has some punky guitar work that would fit just fine on a Cancer Bats record, the syncopated riff from Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal is not a million miles away from Gallows’ Abandon Ship and a not insignificant portion of the EP embodies the heavy swagger that Every Time I Die made so successful. 
None of that is to say that Massacres are thieves. There is actually more below the surface than a lot of hardcore bands, making this set of songs far from derivative. If an EP is a taster of what a band could create given the chance, I’d say an album from these guys would be genuinely interesting. There are some subtle metalcore influence in the melodic guitar work on To The Victor, The Spoils whilst Death Knell has an almost Deftones-esque chorus. 
Something that really stands out in Brutus is the use of meter stretching: adding a beat to a bar here, taking one away there… For example (forgive me for getting a little nerdy here), opening track One Of The Boys kicks off with a riff that follows a 6/4, 7/4, 6/4, 4/4, 4/4 loop before settling into a series energetic 4/4 grooves that will unquestionably cause some whiplash at gigs. Sometimes this kind of technical musicality can sound a little forced, but throughout the EP the excellent phrasing in the arrangements really helps to pull it off.
A great mix of speaking, shouting and screaming gives the vocals powerful dynamic range: from strong start to memorable finish. The final song closes with fifteen seconds of deliciously grinding guitars, over which front man Dave Rogers barks the marching orders “Left, Left, Left Right Left”, and each time I’m left looking forward to whatever these guys do next.

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