Brodequin – Festival Of Death

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In the decade that the band was originally active, from 1998 to 2008, Brodequin released three albums, of which “Festival Of Death” was the second. On “Festival Of Death” Brodequin narrowed down its chosen subject matter to a very specific concept. Aided by a reasonably functional production, and slightly improved presentation, “Festival Of Death” is where Brodequin manifested itself a entity to be reckoned with. It wouldn’t be until this album’s successor that the trio truly showed what they were capable of.

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On its second album Brodequin focused exclusively on torture in medieval times, as before primarily the devices used, and the institutions or persons that used them. A portion of the album concerns itself with torture techniques inflicted upon heretics and apostates in medieval Europe. “Festival Of Death” was step up in terms of artwork, design and layout. Once again the layout and design were handled by Jamie Bailey for Voodoo Design Studio. While still obviously a low-budget affair the second Brodequin offering was a marked improvement over the amateurish “Instruments Of Torture”.

“Festival Of Death” details the mazzatello, the judas cradle, and the Spanish ticker (or Cat’s Paw). Described also are rat torture, burning at the stake (here with ‘Auto de fe’, that derives its name from the Portugese “auto-da-fé” or “act of faith”), exposure (‘Vivum Excoriari’), death by drowning (‘Lake Of the Dead’). Both ‘Bronze Bowl’ and ‘Torches Of Nero’ detail the horrifying torture emperor Nero inflicted on persecuted Christians during his reign in ancient Rome. Uncharacteristic for the record is ‘Gilles de Rais’, which roughly chronicles the life and work of the 15th century French nobleman of the same name. Gilles de Rais, who was a companion-in-arms to Jeanne d’Arc, became infamous for his reputation and later conviction as a serial killer of children. Belgian death/black metal combo Ancient Rites also detailed his life on “The Diabolic Serenades”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3w0-sbsw2k

Brodequin decided to convene at Digital Sky Studios for a second time, and the studio had now relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida. As before Mike Sky was responsible for the recording, mixing and mastering of the album. This time around Sky was able to at least capture the essence of what Brodequin was trying to convey. One of the more notable improvements was the thicker, crunchier guitar tone, and the far meatier sounding vocals. The drums, while better produced than the previous effort, have an annoying ringing sound. The bass guitar is more felt than that is heard as it tends to be buried under the wall of guitars and drums. Bailey’s vocals have the same guttural depth as Will Rahmer’s work on the Mortician debut “Mortal Massacre”. The artwork on the frontcover is an illustration taken from the 1880 chronicle “The Rise of the Dutch Republic” by American historian John Lothrop Motley.

“Festival Of Death” was released on the band’s own Unmatched Brutality label imprint, and allegedly sold in excess of 10,000 copies worldwide. It was re-released a year later, in 2002, on tape format through Indonesian label imprint Extreme Souls Production. There’s a hidden track ‘Raped In The Back Of Chad’s Van’ that is a cover version of the Last Days Of Humanity song ‘Raped In The Back Of A Van’. It an interesting choice of cover considering Last Days Of Humanity lean closer towards earliest Carcass as far as influence go. Brodequin on their part are more conventionally death metal. ‘Judas Cradle’ was recently covered by California/Colorado combo Embodied Torment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpRivwwXURo

While not the first to take death metal into more extreme and fast territory, Deeds Of Flesh and Disgorge preceded them to it, Brodequin stripped the genre to its elementary basics. Pushing the minimalism of goregrind with the crunchiness of death metal Brodequin was the first to combine both subgenre in the way that they did. On “Festival Of Death” the band finally had a production that played up to its strengths. As bands like this go this is not the record to look for in terms of diversity. Brodequin is about speed and heaviness first, and songwriting second. All songs tend to sound very similar with very similar riffs and chord progressions being used. It wouldn’t be until the Brodequin record, and its original swansong, “Methods Of Execution” that the trio showed some minor evolution.

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