Monday, April 15, 2013

Bronson - Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers
Independent Release

It’s been quite a while since Melbourne based groove metal act Bronson last graced the scene with anything new from the studio. But after a couple of years of hard work behind the scenes, the Australian bruisers are back in the spotlight with their debut full-length offering ‘Blood Brothers’.
In the three years since the release of their self-titled E.P., Bronson have undergone a bit of a change in terms of line-up, with only vocalist Jason ‘Jay’ Clair and guitarist/backing vocalist Gary Max Horn remaining from the line-up that last recorded for the group. Joining the ranks of Bronson since 2012 is guitarist Simon Bailey, bassist Paul Stanway and drummer Shane Turville. But while the majority of members within Bronson are relative newcomers, it has to be said that the change hasn’t diminished the initial promise heard throughout the band’s debut E.P. If anything, the band sounds stronger and more determined than ever, with ‘Blood Brothers’ a definite step up from where the band last left things some three years ago.
The album is opened up with ‘Vivez Sur Vos Pieds....’ (Which is French for ‘Live On Your Feet’), which puts together some spoken word quotes (George W. Bush can be heard) with a building guitar riff and thundering drums. It’s all quite straight forward and simple, but nonetheless an effective instrumental piece to introduce the album with.
Next up is ‘Right To Fight’, which is a typically bruising track that you would expect from Bronson. Again, Bronson aren’t out to over complicate things with dazzling displays of technical bravado, but instead deliver simple brutality by way of heavy grooved guitar riffs and strong sing-along melodies on the vocal front. Clair’s voice may not have a great deal of variation for the most part, but what he lacks in diversity, he more than makes up for in aggression. And while the song is fairly straight forward, the brief passages of guitar solos and effects break up things enough to keep things interesting.
The slower tempo and addition of guest vocalist Kimberly Ward (Who is otherwise known as Kymber Rae) on ‘The Dispossessed’ is something a little different for Bronson, and lends a bit of a Killswitch Engage edge to the band’s sound with great success, while on ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ (The first single released from the album), the focus on providing God Forbid-like cleaner chorus passages is quite effective, and shows there’s more to the band than just sheer brutality.
As solid as ‘Assassins Greed’, ‘Revenge’ and ‘Crushed By Demons’ are, they do tend to get a little lost around the middle of the album with their straight down the line/aggressive direction. But by ‘Fallout’, the band manage to get things back on track by giving the song a bit more depth with the slow introduction (This time taking some spoken word samples from a guide to the after-effects of a nuclear war) and retaining a crushing mid-tempo throughout with choruses that really stand out.
Towards the tail end of the album, the band keeps up the high standard with ‘Claim The Throne’ (Which sounds quite open in the production sense to make way for some great lead guitar work) and the lengthy seven minute epic title track ‘Blood Brothers’ (Which again features a reprising guest vocal role from Ward), before finishing the album up with the short instrumental piece ‘...Ou Mourez Sur Vos Genoux’ (‘Or Die On Your Knees’).
Not everything on Bronson’s full-length debut works, but on the strengths evident within ‘Blood Brothers’, it’s clear that the band has come a long way in the three years since their E.P. release. If Bronson keep doing what they’re doing, there’s every chance that the band will eventually emerge with a killer release that’s sure to make everyone sit up and take notice.

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© Justin Donnelly

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