New Music Monday: Brotherhood Of The Lake
If, as Zack De La Rocha once claimed, anger is indeed a gift, then Brotherhood Of The Lake could be metal’s answer to Santa Claus. Their latest album, Desperation Is The English Way Vol.2, the follow-up to last year’s excellent first volume, is possibly the most scathing, bitter slice of nihilistic noise to come out of the UK since the late, great Iron Monkey. It’s tempting to ask them what the problem is.
“We’re easy-going guys, really, we don’t walk around constantly being miserable,” guitarist Rusty Cleave tells Hammer “It’s just social situations. We come from Plymouth and it’s pretty bleak. It’s rare to see a woman between 16 and 30 not pushing a pram. I know Rob [Clark, vocals] gets bummed out by our society’s behaviour.” But with song titles like Grief Ritual and To Stop Breathing, it sounds like something runs deeper than just annoyance at pregnant teenagers…
“I know the song titles can be pretty drastic, but they are generally metaphors about not being able to believe people can be happy with those lives,” adds Rusty. “Creatively, anything grim and depressing switches the lights on in our brain. That’s just what turns us on. I live on Dartmoor and I love the fact that it’s so isolated. I think that’s where that miserable, despondent sound comes from.” It’s fairly standard for UK Hardcore bands to share such themes, but BOTL, despite touring with the likes of Gallows and TRC, are not your typical hardcore act.
“We’re kind of outcasts, not in a negative way, but it’s so hard to find a band in the UK that will admit to being a metal band,” muses Rusty. “So the only bands we can go out with for long periods of time are hardcore bands. I love Emperor and dreary post-rock and that’s the kind of thing we try and write. We’re not interested in playing the game; I doubt Black Sabbath cared if they were endorsed by an energy drink. All we care about is the music.” It’s a career path that has been trodden before. Do BOTL set their sights on similar goals as their heroes?
“Having a career like Converge or Neurosis, that’s the goal,” confirms the guitarist. “Those bands still have jobs and their bands give them pocket money, but look at the respect. I’d rather have a back catalogue of amazing albums like that than sell millions with no artistic worth.”
Brotherhood Of The Lake could well make good on their promise, just don’t expect them to be happy about it.
Desperation Is The English Way Vol. 2 is out now via 30 Days Of Night
Interview by Stephen Hill