Brutus - _Villains_
(Independent, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (6 out of 10)
From the eternal pit of hopelessness that is the Egyptian metal scene, we spend some time today with Brutus as they release their twenty-nine minute long EP _Villains_. Being a band of five guys from different parts of the world who've met in Cairo, Brutus binds together the wide range of experience of its members. There's also a wide range of influences which covers a lot of death metal territory but doesn't entirely forego the hardcore influences that lurk around the minds of these fellows. Of course a combination of such elements is nothing new in this day and age, which always poses the challenge of originality.

_Villains_ is just a five track EP, which honestly doesn't give it enough of a chance to tackle this originality challenge. Some parts come off as massively heavy and aggressive while some other parts sound a little too cluttered. The opening track "Snakes in Black Suits" has a bunch of cool riffs, and there's a very intelligent drum line near the end there, but I found the introductory speech a little too long. The breakdown in the second half of "Deceiver" is the finest bit of technical display on _Villains_, while "God of Carnage" sounds like the most complete and patiently developed track on the record.

On the other hand, balancing the deep vocals with the severe down-tuning did prove to be a very delicate balance. On "Assassins" for example, which has a pulsating rhythm and a driving pace, the vocals are way back in the mix, while they could have raised the bar had they been more forceful. Having said that, _Villains_ isn't an entirely faceless effort. This band has already put out a full-length debut three years ago and I hope they keep chugging away, because there's certainly a lot of potential here. It just needs more time to develop some character. Brutus have done a good job self-recording and producing _Villains_ but the path to a more original sound requires a higher standard.


(article published 23/8/2013)

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