It is hard to believe this is the work of only one man, but that’s exactly what Brood Of Hatred is: one guy from Tunisia named Muhammed Mêlki who plays death metal with a moody, gaze-y flair to it. Identity Disorder is his second album, released on May 4, 2018. On the whole, it is a pensive bath in dirty hot water.
Brood Of Hatred varies the speeds throughout the album’s seven songs from a generally slow-to-mid-paced groove up to full blast beats. (Doomy, slow passages do not seem to be his thing.) However, Mêlki’s tendency to play slow arpeggios over everything makes passages that should be scorchers sound less aggressive. That would be why Brood Of Hatred would have earned the “death gaze” sobriquet in this review were it not for a Japanese band already having that name. Add on the soaring leads that heavy on reverb and that overlay the even the parts with growled vocals, and we have something not quite unique but different enough from most death metal to make it worth a look from those of us who appreciate mood and melody.
Occasionally, Mêlki pulls away Identity Disorder’s “softening layers” and just lets the riff speak for itself. The effect is rather jarring: an effective application of heaviness, almost a slap in the face. Other times, the gaze glaze gives away to pure keyboard passages just to remind us why Identity Disorder is being reviewed on a prog site. “Feeding The Hunger” has many such non-breakdown breakdowns.
Other tracks, like “Shooting Torpedoes” pile the layers on for something akin to a Boléro Effect. That song also has a bass solo and a drum solo, again to show off Brood Of Hatred’s overall technicality. But Mêlki truly earns his prog stripes with Identity Disorder‘s mid-album epic: 13 minutes of samples and gazey death changeups called “Bipolar.”
One can come to appreciate the lengths Mêlki took to give Brood Of Hatred a certain level of musical depth. One could also criticize the entirety of Identity Disorder for being the product of a cold and calculated artistic mindset. For the work of one person, this is to be expected so such should be forgiven. In such cases, ‘Cold and calculated’ is the favorable flip-side to ‘outrageously self-indulgent masturbation.’ Far too many bands (let alone one-man projects) are dominated by one person who writes everything, with the result being material clearly intended to aggrandize that person’s ego. For not being like that, Brood Of Hatred comes out way ahead of those artists. If the price of that is a lack of spontaneity, then melodeath fans should gladly pay it.
The remaining question Identity Disorder brings to mind would be that, as a one-man project, will this material ever see the stage? Perhaps it is time for Mêlki to gather some accomplices so that Brood Of Hatred could tour. But for now, the album is a good listen and worth seeking out.
Notable Tracks: “Feeding The Hunger”; “Shooting Torpedoes”; “Bipolar”; “Traces”
FFO: Dark Tranquility, Insomnium, Scar Symmetry