Progressive is a word that I have come to loathe within the metal scene. It’s tacked on to almost any genre and usually means “we play in weird time signatures” or “there is a keyboard somewhere”. Seldom does it mean actual progression of the genre; where an established framework is pushed to new extremes and new levels, and there is always a lot of trepidation in my heart when I see the word. Thank the metal gods for Brood of Hatred, whose debut EP, New Order of Intelligence, lives up to its label.
Hailing from Tunisia, this young band evidently has big ideas and despite the album being less than 20 minutes long, it is an enthralling and captivating experience (whether you like it or not.) From the get go it is very reminiscient of Deathspell Omega or Dodecahedron, with rolling, amelodic riffing; drums and guitars deliberately going in completely different directions and near-spoken-word vocals. However, this is not the unintelligent aping that I have come to hate. While it instantly reminds me of the aforementioned bands, the similarities begin to dissipate as the songs progress. Much like Kenya’s Absence of Light, there is a massive wall of sound that relentlessly rolls forward; there is no haste in Brood of Hatred and in spite of the frantic drumwork, the songs lurch forward in an inhuman fashion rather than blistering speed. Mohamed Melki’s guttural vocals are some of the deepest and most foreboding I’ve heard come from our continent in a long time too, becoming near unintelligible even with the lyrics in front of me. The message is clear though and the seething atmosphere is almost malicious in it’s composition.
Album opener, “Deconstruction” sets the tone well and an insidious bass intro gives way to the filthy guitar tone and well composed drums. There is a tendency with death metal to just go all out all the time and after a while it begins to wear thin. Drummer, Yousef Aouadi, evidently knows his weapons well and and uses them to great effect alternating between frenzied blasting and far more measured drum beats. This only serves to accent the guitar work which is also filled with variety. Riffs switch between dissonant chords, tremolo picked passages and chuggy sections very naturally and nothing ever feels abrupt or haphazard. Little peace is given in the aural onslaught and it is only the third track, “Terminal Velocity” that offers a brief breather in the form of a few lone bass notes before the abyss closes in again.
The production on New Order of Intelligence is muddy, but that’s the point. The music feels like it is evoking chaos itself and there is no room for crystal clear pinch harmonics or expertly triggered drums. There is little variation in Brood of Hatred’s songwriting, but this in only a four track EP so there is plenty of room for exapansion when the full length comes out. Given the room to grow, I think this band could definitely make some big waves overseas and the seed has been planted with this EP. Definitely an African band to keep an eye on in the coming years!
Stream “Deconstruction” off New Order of Intelligence below: