Brutality Will Prevail – ‘In Dark Places’

By James Davenport

After a short and unplanned hiatus Brutality Will Prevail are back and they’re not fucking around. ‘In Dark Places’ sees the band returning to full form as well as being more ferocious than ever. Having once again teamed up with Holy Roar, there has been a cloud of suspense gathering in the run up to the album’s release and rightly so.

Right off the bat ‘In Dark Places’ begins the mass with sparse feedback, enormous chimes of clanging guitars and fuzzy bass tones that all together, strike fear into the heart of the listener. Stage set, the first track ‘Serpent’ slithers into the first of many guitar riffs that are impossible to resist nodding your head to. “Dig yourself lower, sink yourself deeper, you’re going nowhere” exclaims front man Louis as the track comes to a gloomy close; it’s as though we’re being told to sit still and hear what they have to say. Although doom and sludge laden, this track still incorporates many of the hardcore elements that BWP are famed for, and acts as an ode to where and what the rest of album will explore.

‘Perpetual Lows’ opens with an instant familiarity as it sounds as though it could have easily been lifted off the ‘Scatter The Ashes’ album. This as well as the first single taken from the album ‘Forever Restless’, have only cemented BWP’s triumphant return to form. Both tracks are big statements about what the band still has to offer and encompass everything that’s brought them to the forefront of British hardcore.

Finding the perfect balance between the doom and hardcore genres almost seems effortless for Brutality Will Prevail as tracks such as ‘Penitence’ manage to flitter between the two with careless abandon. The crushing guitar tones and stop-start pace make it clear that this track was made to be played live as it feels as though it could control the mood and actions of a crowd easily. One part in particular that proves this theory is the devastating breakdown that closes out the song. ‘In Dark Places’ is Brutality Will Prevail’s heaviest release to date and tracks ‘Heretic’ and ‘Death Sings Me To Sleep’ slow things right down before laying waste to any preconceptions you may have had or expected from this release. With the enormous walls of sound and breakdowns that are in danger of blowing every speaker they’re played through, the levels of ferocity on ‘In Dark Places’ is unparalleled.

Despite the album being their heaviest to date, ‘In Dark Places’ also explores some post-rock and ambient elements. These come in the forms of ‘Nybbas’ and ‘Into The Gloom’. The former is a three minute instrumental track that incorporates the use of birds chirping and haunting airy guitars showing an entirely different side to the band as well as offering respite part way through the album. The latter experiments with some new ideas and sounds but all the while remain ghostly by nature. Unlike BWP’s previous album ‘Suspension of Consciousness’, ‘In Dark Places’ refrains from the use of clean vocals apart from those on the album’s penultimate track ‘Into The Gloom’ and finale ‘Elegy’, both of which show that there’s some beauty in the darkness. ‘Into The Gloom’ almost acts as a palette cleanser, preparing the listener for the descent back into the darkness that is ‘Elegy’.

If anything, the album closer only goes to show off the song writing talent and musicianship of Brutality will Prevail and they’re not even close to being a one trick pony. ‘Elegy’ is a huge final act to see the album out with and sets ‘In Dark Places’ in stone as one of the most interesting, passionate and well-crafted albums to come out of the UK hardcore scene in years.

JAMES DAVENPORT

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