This stunning new release from Brotthogg – ‘Echoes of the Past’, is an epic masterpiece! Everything from song structure to the overall sound of the album is absolutely impeccable. The guitar is masterful – melodic yet very aggressive and technically brilliant. The delivery on the drums is flawless, a sense of hectic precision perfectly mixed with a catchy fist pump-inducing pace, well-executed and uncluttered. As much as the guitars drive these songs, the drums carry them along with an enormous sense of urgency. The vocals are quite versatile, they span quite a range throughout this album – from a soaring high-end black metal style screeching through to low guttural death metal, and much in between. They are quite well-defined and their presence is great. The bass too has a nice thunderous tone – it certainly comes to the fore when the guitars belt off into shredding solos, none of that nice mid crunch and presence dropping out here, it remains solid throughout. The intricacies of the guitar playing are soaring, defined and punchy. The delivery in some of the acoustic intros is reminiscent of the first Diablo video game’s ambient village music – eerie, strong and sinister. The overall vibe of this album is quite diabolical, conjuring themes of blasphemous warfare between two opposing armies of light and darkness on one hand, and evoking a very lone atmosphere amid a frightful wilderness, empty and forlorn – it is very mediaeval in its ambience and feels. A very aggressive tone is carried throughout the vocals on this release, consistently bringing a focus back as the songs crash between a sense of violent chaos and impending doom. The fury on display here is precise and well delivered, the quality of the performances and the recording itself highlights Brotthogg’s virtuosity and attention to detail. ‘Echoes of the Past’ is a very impressive release, I would definitely recommend it to people who are (in particular) fans of Jari’s first ‘Wintersun’ album.
It reminds me of that, but with a far harsher intensity. This release perfectly borders the two realms of Black Metal and Death Metal with equal fervour. I would certainly urge all fans of extreme metal, be it Death or Black to check this release out – it is a masterwork! From start to finish, this is excellent! Stand-up tracks for myself are – The Summoning, Northland and Total Death. My only negative thing to say about this album is, there wasn’t enough – I just wanted more! Definitely a must for folk who enjoy Mayhem, Nile and both the Black Metal & Technical Death Metal genres in general. For myself this is quite a highlight release for this year, I certainly look forward to seeing their next release and catching them live sometime.
Release Year: 2019
Reviewed by Chris Szafranski