Recordings and guest spots on vocals from US power electronics artist Brethren have been floating around on various compilations and albums for quite some time now, his first feature length release Savage Inequalities appearing in 2005 on the Freak Animal Records label. Often regarded as one of the true surprises to come out of the scene, for some Brethren's brand of harsh electronics and savage, unaffected vocals have cemented his work firmly as some of the best of the genre. Upon listening to the tumultuous anger of Savage Inequalities, it isn't difficult to see why.
Describing it as a vicious and uncompromising onslaught of pure hatred doesn't really do it justice, however this is the closest I can come to describing the sheer breadth of misanthropy present. Rarely before have I heard such an intense concoction of sound, musically, at the very least this album is nothing short of terrifying. The quieter moments sound like a kind of warped meditation but from here walls of incredibly harsh noise are built up, punctuated by swirling electronics and drum machines that puncture like an affected, drawn-out machine gun.
This is an enthralling (and very sick) thrill in itself, however, the vocals are the real icing on this deeply infested cake. Brethren's delivery is characterised by being unaffected and completely venomous, lyrics dealing with his provocative views on race and equality. Whether it's reversing the message of an african-american song of freedom from the post-civil war in Bloodland
to something much more perverse and dangerous sounding (Before I'll be a slave/I'll be buried in my grave!
), to condemning homosexuals in Hail AIDS (You're like an animal/It lives within you/Hail AIDS/Hail AIDS you AIDS infested ***ing animal
) every word feels completely sincere and Savage Inequalities is not for the light hearted or easily offended. A sample of a woman speaking at the beginning of Swarm of Ignorance discussing women who fight for female rights as "an embarrassment to the vagina" only goes further to antagonise those who hold liberal beliefs, Brethren's message to the world spelt loud and clear.
Savage Inequalities is some of the best power electronics to come out over the past decade, an entirely thrilling listen characterised by incredibly harsh noise and vocals. Peppered with it's uncompromising political agenda however, it is bound to alienate many listeners who simply cannot stomach it. I am of the opinion that if I were to only listen to artists with political views I agree with, however, I would have one lame taste in music.