Brotherhood Of The Lake
Desperation Is The English Way Vol.2
30 Days Of Night
18 March 2013
by David Keevill
Misanthropy is a great commodity. Bands towards the darker end of the spectrum have come to thrive off it, not only as a motivator for writing heavier music but also by working it into the themes, lyrics, style and the core of their sound. As a purveyor of the dark arts, you are buying into genres of music that has become so intent on the idea of presenting itself as the most furious, chaotic and hateful that every band this side of Converge have made it their sole intent to fit this template. As a result, that ire is starting to lose its meaning.
Yet when Brotherhood Of The Lake released their second album, Desperation Is the English Way Vol.1, last year, it felt like there was a real reason to be angry again. It was a record that reflected the grimmest moments found on Gallow’s Grey Britain, with all of the frills stripped away leaving a bare, pulsating kernel of hatred. Moulded in a very similar way, their release of Vol.2 is further proof that genuine dissatisfaction can yet again be a motivator for truly original, bestial music.
As on Vol.1, BOTL see no need to use their music a stimulus for change. The endless buzz of guitars and encrusted production is an insistent force and reminder of how far into the deep and dark BOTL think we’ve fallen. As the album title suggests, the English on BOTL’s latest record are locked within their own destructive, hopeless psyches; opener ‘Untie the Tempest’ screams over and over of how “there is no help for you, and there never will be”, lodging itself in your brain like some parasitic psychosis.
It’s not a gimmick. The proof is in how indigestible the record truly is; the vocals that are introduced about two and a half minutes into ‘Grief Ritual’ are so incredibly bleak and obscured by the inch-thick covering of sputum that you can barely make out words amidst his furious tirade. The repetitive riffs that move quickly between metallic chug and frenzied squalls grant no breathing space, and pull the listener down into a suffocating mire. When the band do wander from this aggressive blueprint, as on ‘Black Gates’, which includes mournful female vocals and a noticeable let up in speed, Brotherhood Of The Lake feel like they’re proving, without contrivance, that they’ve got so much left in their arsenal.
There is no step away from the tone of its predecessor, there is barely any musical progress to speak of and the majority of the record finds its level and pace and remains there; that does nothing to the kind of hyperbole I want to throw at this record, or the sort of plaudits for effortless brutality I want to give it. It is inconspicuous and unshowy and yet is probably one of the most exciting and visceral collections of music to move within metal and hardcore circles in recent years.
Sounds Like: Last Witness, Feed The Rhino
Standout Tracks: Grief Ritual, To Stop Breathing, Black Gates, Live In Fear Of Nothing