The Crimson Brigade – Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust) (2016) Running Time 39:21
Release Date 22/11/2016 Rebco Records
Album Review by Rick Tilley
When you’ve been reviewing for a few years you can sometimes get caught in the rut of being a little too picky about which albums you want to write about and you end up getting sent lots of similar sounding albums! Whilst it’s a privilege to type about your favourite bands or preferred type of music it’s wise to occasionally step outside the box and challenge yourself with a genre you don’t usually listen to and that is what I am doing with this review!
Black Metal is a genre I’ve never been particularly fond of. Apart from early releases by the likes of Bathory and Falkenbach (both of which have a Viking feel to them) or bands that play a more symphonic style of Black Metal such as Dimmu Borgir, I’ve always found it noisy, bleak, too fast and way too serious. Yes, there are some extremely talented musicians playing it but musically it leaves me cold. However, like the bands mentioned above, there are always going to be some exceptions to the rule so when The Crimson Brigade sent me their second album ‘Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust)’ for possible consideration I approached it with an open mind! I’m very glad I did do that because this album, even though brutally heavy and fast and definitely very Black, is a pretty good listen!
Described on the blurb as ‘BLACK VAMPYRIC WAR METAL’ automatically makes you believe this three piece are based near the frozen glaciers and lava fields of Iceland but you would be wrong as it is the slightly less bleak (but not much) town of Chesterfield, UK where they call home. You would be right in thinking Chesterfield is hardly the first place to spring to mind when talking Black Metal but, regardless of where they originate from, opening introduction track ‘The Rise Of Evil’ sets the war torn scene beautifully before leading into first track proper ‘Ghosts Of Hutgen Forest’ which, from the first programmed drum roll (more on that later), kicks you so far up the arse that the boot appears out your mouth. The Crimson Brigade have a very nifty trick of combining early Black Metal with the much harsher sounding genre that many will recognise today BUT they then go and throw in a whole host of programmed symphonic and keyboardy stuff as well as glorious sound effects which adds a beautiful sheen to proceedings. Before you say it, no, they are nowhere near as polished as bands like Dimmu Borgir because If you took the programmed effects away this would be very cold and raw. However, it’s the addition of these that makes ‘Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust)’ work for me so well. Well nearly, because I do NOT like programmed drums and, however well they might be programmed, that spoils things. Having watched clips of the band gigging on Youtube it also spoils things live, even aesthetically, because it just looks odd watching three men playing this brutal music with no drummer!
If you can look past that misdemeanour there is a fantastic story behind The Crimson Brigade’s music. It tells the stories of The Blood Battalion, formed in 1803 at the onset of the Napoleonic Wars. They are a fierce and blood thirsty, but insidious, army of Vampyres that have caused every conflict and War in human history. With high ranking Vampyres, in all walks of life, pulling strings as part of an elaborate plan so that certain battles are won on each side, sometimes at incredible odds. My small brain takes this to mean that the human race will never die allowing the Vampyres constant food! This is perfect fodder for my love of Horror, Fantasy and vivid imagination. When music takes me somewhere, however gruesome and savage that place might be, then it has done its job!
Wonderfully titled ‘’Blood Red Snow Of The White Death’, the blunt force trauma of ‘Blut Red Plague’ and the torturous but hauntingly beautiful ‘Sacred Ground (Siege Of Budapest)’ are my album favourites and I tip my hat to BlutKommendant Ansgar Blutdrache (Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards & Programming), Beserker Arnþórr Bergmann (Bass) and Marshal Vladamir Nikoli Vatutin (Lead Guitar) for their successful attempt at getting me to listen to something like this!
As you can tell from the band member names, there is a certain amount of tongue in cheek (or at least I hope there is) about The Crimson Brigade but they’ve certainly produced an interesting album. It may be one that doesn’t grace my stereo every day but I’m certainly glad to have it in the collection. Just PLEASE get a real drummer for the next album guys, at the very least someone to play live! Even a dead Vampyre playing them would be preferable!
- The Rise Of Evil
- Ghosts Of Hutgen Forest
- Destruction Of Louvain
- Blood Red Snow Of The White Death
- Verdun Battle Field Of The Dead
- Blut Red Plague
- Scorched Earth Holocaust (Rise Of The Beserker Blutmacht)
- Sacred Ground (Siege Of Budapest)