Brutal Cross – “At War”


Brutal Cross At War 2014Blackened death metal from Ireland via Poland or is it Poland via Ireland?  Either way, most music tends to be universal and such is the case with Brutal Cross as the music could have come from many different geographies and the listener would never know.

Brutal Cross is actually a project of Tomasz Sulowski who handles all insturments and vocals and At War is actually the third full length album for this project.  The listener will definitely take notice of the guitars in this recording.  I personally, really like the tone and roughness of the sound, which has more of a live feel to it than a sanitized, reminding me a bit of the guitars on Frost Like Ashes Pure as the Blood Covered Snow album.  The mix on the album is a bit odd at times and somewhat inconsistent as symphonic elements sometimes jump to the forefront, overwhelming everything else and the bass and drums end up somewhat lost at times amidst the guitars and other chaos.  Vocals are primarily a mid-range, growled black/death style and fit well with the music.

Following an instrumental opening track that sets the stage, “Dark Horizon” kicks off the album and provides a glimpse of what the rest of the album holds. What I appreciate in the sound and approach taken by Tomasz Sulowski with the sound is the importance of the guitars in carrying things along and the somewhat different, crunchier, raw tone of the guitars compared to what is normally found in the genre.  Not only that, but there is a certain melodic aspect to many of the songs that sets them apart from the standard fare.

“Lament” is one of the tracks that contains both my favorite and least favorite aspects of the album.  The song begins with an almost overly loud keyboard intro section and then the glorious guitars come in for the song, only to be drowned out in a later section again by the keyboards.
Within this style of music, keyboards often play a pivotal role in providing atmosphere but within the mix on this album, they are a bit too overpowering at times.

“Driven by Hate” is starts out with a great driving riff and never lets up through the entire song, and “War Cry” while starting out with a slower anthemic guitar riff quickly shifts into similar fast driving riffing that has a certain thrashy feeling to it.  At the same time, both songs carry a certain melodic feel to them that fans of let’s call them “softer” genres of metal could relate to, which is something that not all black/death metal albums feature.

There are some departures in style from the rest of the album, especially with “Silence of the Cross” featuring an almost folk-metal style clean singing intro before launching into the melodic blackened death metal found on the rest of the album.  Almost as if this was an experimental section of the album, the next song “At War” also features clean singing through a good bit of the beginning of the song before being joined by some of the deeper death, growling vocals.  While interesting, the songs seem somewhat out of place with the rest of the album.

Just when you think you’ve heard enough blackened death metal to not be surprised, an album like this comes along and while containing all the familiar elements you expect, also has an overall sound and feel to it that is unexpected and keeps things interesting.

Rating: 7/10

01. Intro
02. Dark Horizon
03. Our Cause
04. Blinded By Atheism
05. Lament
06. Driven By Hate
07. Cult
08. Occult
09. Born Again
10. War Cry
11. Silence On The Cross
12. At War
13. Sea Of Despair
14. Outro

Band Members:
Tomasz Sulowski – all instruments, vocals

Record label: Sanctus Gladius Records, March 2014

Weblinks: Facebook / Myspace

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Lyric video below ‘Born Again’

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