Brodequin
Harbinger of Woe


4.0
excellent

Review

by Vasilis S. CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
March 22nd, 2024 | 203 replies


Release Date: 03/22/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pain and fire soon to be inherited.

For many, the subgenre of brutal death metal had a local maximum during the late 90’s - mid 00’s, when bands had not wholly surrendered to the shock-and-provoke element yet, and instead managed to flabbergast listeners not just with disgusting thematics / visuals, but also with staggeringly brutal music. Names like early Devourment, Malignancy, Disavowed / Pyaemia, Inveracity and Deeds of Flesh were the order of the day, during an era that was subtly concluded with Disgorge’s Parallels of Infinite Torture in 2005, right before the genre acquired new forms with new artists that have been leading the ship since.

Apart from the aforementioned bands, one of the culprits and leaders of that given period was Brodequin from Knoxville, Tennessee, who are still to this day responsible for some of the heaviest material ever conceived in extreme metal. With three full length albums between 2000 and 2004, featuring deafening production, lyrical themes about the real history of human torture, and always balls to the wall attitude towards the highest levels of extremity, Brodequin’s discography has obtained cult status among brutal death metal aficionados. Twenty years since 2004’s Festival of Death, the band returns as a literal blast from the past with their new album Harbinger of Woe, delivering a well-weighted punch in the stomach exactly as they did back in the day.

The element that most notably distinguishes this new record from Brodequin’s back catalog is the significantly refreshed sound it has. Even if their earlier releases were production-wise notoriously filthy, the band decides (and in my point of view, wisely) to clean up the recordings and properly showcase the unmatched brutality of their compositions, which is now more in your face than ever. Harbinger of Woe was mixed and mastered by none other than Josh Welshman from Defeated Sanity, who did an excellent job in highlighting the band’s compositional prowess and aggression, in such a way that it leaves you quite pleased they don’t sound exactly like they did two decades ago.

Rest assured that this approach doesn’t steal away not even a little bit of the ferocity of the tracks. Like a sudden visit from an old friend with a six pack of beers in their hand, the listener will get the same emotion as soon as the gut-wrenching, scourging riffs of the opener “Diabolical Edict” kick in, placing full trust in this new work of the Baily brothers and appreciating how they have maintained their mindset and integrity after all this time. The record clocks an acute length of slightly above half an hour, with ten tracks of potent expression, maxed out intensity and straightforward but varied structure. For the most part, Harbinger of Woe moves at high-speed tempos and is full of the thunderous guitar lines and monstrous grooves that define Brodequin, who now also achieve a seemingly organic and natural flow in the totality of the album.

There’s several straightforward death metal stompers such as “Fall of the Leaf”, “Maleficium” and “Vredens Dag”, as well as the two tracks that had been previously released in the Perpetuation of Suffering EP from 2021 (“Tenaillement” and “Vii Nails”), which are both short but sweet teeth breakers that alluded to Brodequin’s return three years ago. The band’s exploratory intentions are articulated in a handful of song segments such as the dynamic drum build up of “Theresiana”, which is followed by a clear head-nodding, mosh-able groove section, or during the chilling clean vocal narrations in “Diabolical Edict” or the end of the closing, self-titled track. Clean guitar melodies make brief sojourns in the background of “Suffocation In Ash” and “Of Pillars and Trees”, amidst the overwhelming barbarity that is idiosyncratic of the album.

All in all, Brodequin return to action in celebratory fashion with an awfully violent, furious album that stands firmly on the band’s foundations, while piling up new inspiration and radiating their compositional evolution throughout the years. Harbinger of Woe channels the characteristic, pompous play style of the band, built on brutal riff work, the exceptionally low guttural vocals of Jamie Bailey, and cloaked in a production blessed by modern technology, which does not abuse the guitar or the snare sound anymore (winking to 2001’s Instruments of Torture - a masterpiece). At this point in time, Brodequin's comeback is ideal and we couldn't ask for anything else from a band like that. This will definitely leave you hanged, drawn and quartered.



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user ratings (89)
3.9
excellent
related reviews

Festival of Death


Comments:Add a Comment 
NexCeleris
March 22nd 2024


41 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You'd think after 17 years they would feel the urge to experiment or slow it down a little, but nope. This is brutal death done right.

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 22nd 2024


25717 Comments


sweet been waiting for this one to drop.

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Nex, exactly my thoughts

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 22nd 2024


25717 Comments


yeah this rips

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

LETS GO!!!! Can't wait to jam. M///

Lichtbringer
March 22nd 2024


1142 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

three tracks in, they've still got it

brainmelter
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


8318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hell yea, sick write up dude

evilford
March 22nd 2024


63920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aww sheeiit

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Getting on this tonight I can't wait. Maybe my most anticipated release of this year.

Frost15
March 22nd 2024


2708 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dang I need to czech it seems



PS: Wow! This is truly fantastic. Absolutely love the heavy, pummeling production. For some reason it reminds me of mid-era Behemoth played by Disgorge and Defeated Sanity.



PS: Best Tech/Brutal DM album I've heard this year by far

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2024


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed with you Frost



Evil and Hawks, you’ll definitely dig it!

Anthracks
March 23rd 2024


8012 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

legends

Frost15
March 23rd 2024


2708 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Should I check their discog Anthracks? This one is on repeat right now, pretty strong album

Hawks
March 23rd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes get on the first 2 albums asap.

Anthracks
March 23rd 2024


8012 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yes all of their albums are similar. the only major difference is the production is way cleaned up here. also check out Liturgy - Dawn of Ash, which was a side project for the band long ago.

Hawks
March 23rd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good lord this is so amazing. Brutal dm at its absolute finest.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2024


10698 Comments


Album rips indeed, terrific sound work, brutal and elaborate at once.

I can listen to and enjoy every detail, even at minimum volume.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2024


32013 Comments


The little I heard of this fucking ripped.

Hawks
March 23rd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is one of the best production jobs I've ever heard on a dm album tbh. Sounds so fucking massive.

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2024


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Frost their earlier albums are pretty insane, of a similar nature to this, but with much different production so tread lightly….



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