The uncompromising Metal scene in Manchester has been home to Thrash infused Technical Death Metallers BruteAllies since 2018, a band known for their lyrical ferocity, razor sharp twin guitar attack and artillery shelling percussive battery, citing influences in Testament, Decapitated and Carcass to name but a few. Sharing stages at shows and festivals with the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse and Bloodshot Dawn, the quintet of James “Mallah” Bridges (vocals), Luke Michniewski (guitars), Hassan Alemdar (bass), Sonny Fox (guitars) and Gabi Tretze (drums) not only earned their stripes but also tested the water with their material before finally entering the Anthropocide studios with Ivan Panferov (Slaughter To Prevail, Abominable Purity) to record their debut album “Ash & Nails“.
Having heard the demo version of “Invasion” back in March 2019, it’s safe to say that the wait is finally over for BruteAllies. As you might expect given the song titles of this debut record, it paints in typical Thrash lyrical themes of the oppressive realities of war which then lead into a post-war existence, the enduring pain and suffering felt by those who remain as they mourn those lost in a nightmarish wasteland. “Invasion” tears up the ground before with rampant riffs with Bridges Death Metal bark cutting like a hot knife through butter. The whammy bar into the blistering solo is up there with the best of the 80’s Thrash bands, the resurgence of the genre something we’ve talked about often over the past few years. “Battlefield” takes up the mantle with a similarly high paced electrifying energy about it with rapid fire solo moments, while offering the groove of Lamb Of God; indeed Bridges has that Randy Blythe esq tone to his voice in places on the cut that you might not have expected from the opening one and that works really well. The churning riffs of “Dark Army” bring us back to early 2000’s Metalcore as it grew out of the Gothenburg sound, a distinct melodic lead guitar edge during the verses while Bridges takes on a thunderous God like voice as he spits his venomous wrath while Tretze adds that Death Metal percussive battery.
Upping the ante with “Mad Elephant” which isn’t chaotic but instead a driven and intense affair that maintains a sense of groove lights up the second half of the record and lights the distress flares before the lead flourishes take over and bring that sense of melody to madness. “Lost Souls” then builds upon those foundations, taking a leaf from the Black Metal book with the vocal stylings of guest Niklavs Trankalis. The Death Metal riffs keep flowing from Michniewski and Fox, who are full of ideas and able to provide a relentlessness with their syncopation, speed and tightness that makes them a partnership of promise. One happily tears off into a lead, while the other holds the rhythm before seamlessly returning, making for a captivating listen. A short fast one with a couple of moments of experimentation in “Nemesis” makes for a final flourish that is not only impressive but is a warning short for other bands as to what they could produce the second time around, the closing breakdown being something that you just have to hear for yourself [8/10]
3. Dark Army
4. Mad Elephant
5. Lost Souls Feat. Niklavs Trankalis
“Ash & Nails” by BruteAllies is out 27th November via WormHoleDeath Records with pre-orders available here