Welcome friends, Romans, Hessians. And Crazed Shredders. The topic of this weeks Metal Forum Review is the sublime, undoubted classic album from the Florida natives, Cynic’s Traced in A… er,
Brutality’s Screams of Anguish.


Yes, it's a bit early. I had it written and thought I might as well just post it. I also wanted to keep up the tradition of posting it a day early.

First off, Brutality was born out of the golden age of Florida death and began to emerge around the same time as their far more successful peers like Morbid Angel, Death, Obituary, Deicide etc. but the problem was that by the time Screams was released, the widely-accepted classics had been out for a good few years, and perhaps a lot of the fuss had died down in the particular scene (I don’t know, I was trapped in a cradle in England at this time). But although this delay may have hurt their popularity, it seems like it let their music mature a bit more – compare it to the demos or the Hell on Earth EP, and Screams sounds much more developed.

Now, onto the music; the album fires off on all pistons with the opener These Walls Shall Be Your Grave, and right away there’s a vicious assault of pummelling kicks, machine-gun like blasts, and tremolo picked riffs erupting into frenzied mini-leads which sound like an appropriate representation of the cover artwork. Soon enough, it hits the doom riff, where everything seems to sort itself out and smoothly add a sombre atmosphere to the sonic holocaust that’s already been presented. It’s around this point where you can clearly notice the production – it has that classic Morrisound production sound, although a bit more modern. Everything cuts through clearly, and there’s a cavernous echo on the snare drum that makes it sound like a gunshot during the slower beats, but doesn’t let it turn to mush during the blasts. Almost immediately there are some mini leads that come in, but these ones are better suited for the dragging, slow riff. The great thing about the solos throughout the album is that they play around with the squirming noise that’s more akin to Morbid Angel, but Don Gates & Jay Fernandez always end up crafting memorable melodies that serve the song well, rather than just being a tool to show off or fill time. Scott Reigels vocals come in soon after, and they sound massive. A bit lower pitched than a fair amount of his contemporaries, and with certain clarity that’s a bit rarer.
These two sections provide the backbone of the song, occasionally alternating until about halfway through when it feels like more of a train of thought, but still very well structured. This is true for a lot of the album – the other songs often follow this template of fast/slow riff interplay and there’s often a linear feel, but they’re put together beautifully, making every transition feel logical and organic and never once as though they’re a just a cut and paste job.

After Ceremonial Unearthing, we hit the the acoustic/synth driven track Sympathy; a song that effectively sets a marker, or like elevator music that helps to break up the other parts and let you know which floor you’re approaching. The synths are ropey enough to qualify for elevator music as well, but the composition of this song makes it enjoyable enough. It’s also a welcome break after the fairly dense tracks that preceded it, as it lets you absorb the music a bit more, as well as providing a set up for the slamming Septicemic Plague to follow it. A few tracks later, Spirit World begins, and it has similar intentions to Sympathy, although not sounding quite so cheap.

I’ll also give a special mention to possibly the best track on the album, Cries of the Forsaken. Starting off with a slower riff, it quickly ascends into a series of furious tremolo picked riffs that feature the two guitars playing off against each other, almost to create a single melody. It cycles through many different riffs that occasionally seem to be referencing earlier sections, and then building upon them to push the song into new territory but with some familiarity. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best written song on the album, featuring a great display of technical prowess for all members without degrading to mindless wank, although the same can be applied for every other song on this album.

I did want to try and find a couple of problems with Screams so that this review wouldn’t be just constant fellatio, but in all honesty, there weren’t a lot of loose threads to tug at. That’s not to say that this album is the most incredibly well realised and articulated expression of the members collective passion, but there’s no point on this album where I think that given the chance, I could have done some things better, as every element serves its purpose to the highest standard. It certainly isn’t the most underground album, but it’s definately been held down by the collective weight of Altars of Madness, Legion, Leprosy, etc. and if you haven’t heard it, you should definitely give it a try.

September 30 - duncang
October 7 - AnnihiSlateR
October 14 - Nihiliste
October 21 - VampireGoldfish
October 28 - illuminatiano
November 4 - severed-metal
November 11 - dillonrips7
November 18 - Chopped_In_Half
November 25 - MoogleRancha
December 2 - progbass
Quote by duncang
maybe it's because i secrely agree that tracedin inymballsackistheb best album ever

he's got the fire and the fury,
at his command
well you don't have to worry,
if you hold onto jesus' hand
Good stuff Nick, cool review. Absolutely unforgiving album...like a more clinical 'Pierced From Within'.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.

Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
Nice choice, that Brutality album is excellent.
Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek: for they shall Beherit the earth."
No, I don't believe we ever agreed on an official title. Anyways, let me start by saying great review ctfod! Very well written and a good album choice as well. Thanks for helping out with this whole review thing, it isn't garnering the attention or conversation I had hoped for but nevertheless, it has been fun and I'd hate to see it die now. So anyways, onto my opinion:

I went into this with high expectations. I've heard Brutality get name dropped a decent bit here and after all these years I still hadn't bothered to check 'em out properly up until now. After reading your highly positive review of them, seeing regulars here attest to the album's greatness, and seeing a 91% rating on Metal Archives (a mix of five different reviewers some being well respected), I have to say I was pretty disappointed after listening to this album.

Now don't get me wrong, it was far from bad, it just wasn't the masterpiece slab of a death metal I was expecting. The vocalist reminds me heavily of George Fisher's low growls. Now I believe Fisher is a good vocalist and enjoy his lows but for some reason Reigal's annoyed me because of the similarity. I suppose that's just personal bias though. What's not biased though is the fact that Reigal remains one dimensional with his vocals. It seems like every line is that same growl, very monotonous and after a while a bit grating. What's even sadder is the fact that he IS able to perform a wide range of growls but chooses not to. Some of the best moments on the album vocally are when he finally decides to mix it up and add a high shriek or something in there. He's good, he just restrains himself unfortunately.

Another much more detrimental to the album complaint is the songwriting. Not the arrangement of the music but the music itself. I just got this vibe that they were just a "B level" Florida death metal band that also took some influence from the Swedish death metal scene. The riffing is good, but it just doesn't hold up against its contemporaries such as Morbid Angel. And the death/doom bits with the melodic, legato solos are very melancholic and beautiful but at the end of the day bands like Dismember did it first and did it better. They are far from a rip-off/worship band but they just behind the ball a wee bit. I totally understand why they didn't get as much recognition as the other bands; they're good but their contemporaries are in another league. And this is just nitpicking but the lyrics were pretty standard (bad) as well, not that I'd judge it based on that.

Oh, and the two filler tracks didn't help this albums cause either. I'm a sucker for stuff like these but these really could have been left out. Honestly, I loved Sympathy and thought it was a very well written piece and even liked the cheesy synthesizer tone (though I enjoy stuff in MIDI too). And Spirit World definitely wasn't bad. Good tracks, they were just placed in unusual spots and didn't serve a purpose as well as not really matching at all. Perhaps they would've been better as album and/or song intros/outros.

Anyways, those are my complaints since you couldn't find any. Also, all this is subject to change as I've only listened to this album once now and in a bad environment (low volume on computer speakers in the middle of the night and I'm sleepy). It was a tedious listen and perhaps it's not the band's fault. Maybe after several spins with better listening conditions I'll rethink things and take all this back . Oh, and if it sounds like I'm bashing the album that's not the case. Just pointing out some of the potential negatives for discussion as you've pretty much covered the positives. The album has some brilliant moments scattered about it, the composition/musicianship is good, production is good, etc. It's a good album, slightly above average I'd say. Worth checking out and personally I'd buy it even with its flaws.

EDIT: Also, I'd like to apologize (not that you care) Strangles for not really commenting on your review. I was the one pushing to start this thing for conversation and what not but I kinda got lazy and I'm already familiar with Akercocke.
Last edited by Born Headless at Sep 23, 2011,
Great record but it doesn't quite hold up to Monstrosity / Malevolent Creation / Atheist / Morbid Angel / Deicide etc.
Yes Good stuff Nick, cool review.
Last edited by megaduu at Sep 23, 2011,
It's definately worth a listen, and is pretty good by death metal standards

/Florida scene fangirl
never got super into this one but I always dug it when I tried it
Free your mind and your ass will follow
The kingdom of heaven is within
Open up your funky mind and you can fly

Great review Nick, pretty interesting album for the most part.

Quote by progbass
Great record but it doesn't quite hold up to Monstrosity / Malevolent Creation / Atheist / Morbid Angel / Deicide etc.

It sincerely doesn't have to.
^ I believe his point was that they were left behind in terms of quality by their contemporaries and if you're in the mood to listen to this style of music there are better albums to grab i.e. it's a B level album in a sea of A level albums from the same era and area. Though I'm inclined to agree with his position on the album I understand your point too. A solid album is a solid album and I don't only listen to best of the best, I listen to plenty of non top shelf material. That's part of what makes the greats so good. I'm gonna listen to this one again soon and see if my opinion of it has changed.
I'm aware of his point, I just don't agree that we should slap the "better" sticker on albums that are equal in terms of quality.
Oh, haha, I got ya... So you find it equal to all the albums/bands listed so far?

EDIT: Okay, just finishing up my second listen of this album. I listened to it in a better mood and with the volume turned up a bit. The verdict remains the same but it was a little better. The vocals were much better, I was never really annoyed by them and they don't sound quite as much like Fisher as I originally thought though they are still similar. I still stand by the fact that he should've mixed it up a little more though. I was slightly more entertained by the riffs and it wasn't near as tedious a listen this go around. Overall it still sounds slightly subpar though. Good album but no masterpiece. I doubt I'll listen to again anytime soon but I will add it to my rotation of bands I listen to.
Last edited by Born Headless at Sep 23, 2011,
Quote by severed-metal
Listed by Progbass? Yes. Except for Atheist.

Hmm, just differing opinions I suppose...
Oh, uh, I obviously don't have one to post tomorrow! Can I be shunted way down the list? Hope someone's got one already done, my bad
Quote by justinb904
im more of a social godzilla than chameleon

Quote by MetalMessiah665
Alright, I'll give them a try, Japanese Black Speed rarely disappoints.

Quote by azzemojo
Hmm judging from your pic you'd fit in more with a fat busted tribute.