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Brodequin “Harbinger of Woe” Album Review By Josh Phillips

Brodequin band

Brodequin is a name I have been familiar with for quite some time. Their early heyday happened to coincide with my early years as a Metalhead. This project of the Bailey brothers (Jamie and Mike) immediately made ripples in the Metal underground and I recall their first album Instruments of Torture being rather highly regarded in the early 2000s. That first decade of the new millennium was certainly a golden age for Brutal Death Metal. The Old School Death Metal style had receded and Death Metal artists pushed the boundaries of speed and brutality. While I prefer the OSDM sound today, back in 2003 as a metal novitiate, Brutal Death Metal WAS Death Metal for me. While I may have moved away from this (sub)sub-genre as a favorite, some talented bands stuck with me: Nile (of course), Vile, Sepsism, and Brodequin among others.

Having recently recalled my one-time affinity for Brodequin, I re-acquired the Instruments of Torture CD last summer and was reminded of the quality of their sound. This is BRUTAL stuff. Indeed, Brodequin was often quoted in conversations concerning the most brutal and extreme Metal acts. After releasing their third album, Methods of Execution, in 2004, Brodequin went on a twenty-year hiatus. Now they have re-arisen, in a strange twist of fate, during the age of Old School Death Metal revival. 

While Brodequin may be best-known for their blasting, they’ve always had an element of groove that would occasionally peek out from behind what was often a bestial wall of sound. A twenty-year absence has not weakened Brodequin’s blunt weapon attack, nor drastically changed their songwriting formula (something I consider a strength in this form of Death Metal). The songs on Harbinger of Woe are as aggressive, fast, and bludgeoning as ever. I do get the sense that the band dialed up the groove, and, dare I say, even the atmosphere a bit more for this album which, for my tastes, was an excellent move. Songs such as Vredens Dag are a well-executed symphony of fast, technical riffs cooled by succulent breakdowns. These massive grooves punctuating brutal blasts have been the recipe of the best Brutal Death Metal bands since Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation released the deranged twins Butchered at Birth and Effigy of the Forgotten upon the world in 1991. The new record features some of the best songwriting of the brothers Bailey in their career and the album flows by fluidly in a brisk thirty-two minutes. 

One final factor in the success of Harbinger of Woe is the production. The band’s last album before the hiatus, Methods of Execution, was marred by muddy production. Harbinger of Woe has a modern, but not clinical production – one that remains thick and warm while highlighting the clarity of the instruments.

Brodequin has returned with full force to drop a heavy contender for 2024. While respecting their past, they’ve also moved forward to produce a great modern Death Metal soundscape. Not only does this album deserve to sit alongside Instruments of Torture in the Brodequin discography, it may be their finest achievement yet.

Josh’s rating: 8.75/10

Brodequin album

1. Diabolical Edict (3:29)
2. Fall Of The Leaf (2:33)
3. Theresiana (3:03)
4. Of Pillars and Trees (4:03) [WATCH]
5. Tenaillement (2:53)
6. Maleficium (3:09)
7. VII Nails (2:17)
8. Vredens Dag (3:20)
9. Suffocation in Ash (3:05)
10. Harbinger of Woe (4:04)

Line up:
Jamie Bailey: Bass/Vocals
Mike Bailey: Guitar
Brennan Shackelford: Drums
Joaquin Chavez: (Live) Guitar

Drums recorded at Brennan’s Drum Room in Dallas, Texas.

Guitar, bass and vocals recorded at Navarre 24 in Harriman, Tennessee

Producer and sound engineer
Mike Bailey

Mastering studio and engineer
Josh Welshman

Mixing studio and engineer
Josh Welshman

Original artwork done by Jose de Brito.
Additional elements by Jamie Bailey.

Will Yarbrough


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