Label: Crime Records
Soundcloud song streams: Link
The press release for Skinless Agony, the debut album by Brood Of Hatred, describes the Tunisian band as playing “extreme death metal.” It’s a simple statement that raises a few questions. What is death metal if not extreme? (Answer: shit). And, more importantly, can the band back up such a statement? Forgive my cynicism, but there’s plenty of press releases and adverts making comparable claims for the most mundane and dull of records and bands. Thankfully though, it didn’t take long for opening track “Deconstruction” to prove my doubts wrong, and the rest of Skinless Agony did not disappoint either.
Of course, the genre tag “extreme death metal” requires a little clarification. Based on the nine tracks on the album, “extreme death metal” is what happens when a band strikes a balance between recent avant garde death metal acts like Ulcerate with the more progressively minded (but not prog-death) tendencies of the likes of Gojira, whilst still keeping basics like song structures and riffs in place. It’s played with speed and precision, with the drums battering away ceaselessly, whilst the guitars provide melody and brutality as the songs require, with the bass anchoring it all. It’s impressive in a technical sense whilst still possessing moments that are catchy and memorable. Second track “The Mind That Emerged” features a guitar lead that is almost emotional, and is far from being the only moment over the course of the album to possess such qualities. A lot of death metal sounds overly processed and soulless to me, whether it be in production or performance, but Brood Of Hatred are not guilty of such a charge. They play with conviction, and whilst the production might be too clean and processed for some, to me it has just the right level of clarity to properly display the talents of the band without being too clean. Special note must also go to penultimate track “Obsession” – at over 9 minutes long you’d expect it to go through several movements, and you’d be correct. It’s the most ambitious track on the album, and arguably the best, though the title track is also a good contender for that title.
As such, it’s hard to disagree with with the “extreme death metal” tag, even if there is more melody and tunefulness here than might be expected from such a label. The band stick to their chosen sound over most of the album and it’s successful on the whole, with only instrumental closer “Disbelief Grows” feeling like a mis-step, though this is due more to its placement than anything else. Were this album released on a bigger label, it would probably be getting praise from all corners, and deservedly so. A great example of modern death metal.
Skinless Agony is available through Crime Records on CD, and can be downloaded via iTunes.