Thursday, January 30, 2020

Album Review: Brass Against - Brass Against II

Brass Against 
Brass Against II
*** out of *****

The New York based collective Brass Against second full length release mixes up their interpretations of prog-rock, funk, folk and hip hop artists with blasting horns and heavy metal explosiveness, all the while delivering those artists politically charged lyrics.

The main players are Andrew Gutauskas- Bari Sax/Arranger, Brad Hammonds- Guitar, Mariel Blidstein - Trombone but the band grows from song to song. The album begins with the bands rendering of "Lateralus" by Tool, stretching out and winding around the ominous prog-rock with bass and gloom just around the corner while they manage to make Audioslave funky with their heavy handed horns on "Show Me How to Live".

The best of the bunch may just be "Gasoline" which finds Amanda Brown delivering a more soulful approach to the tune, moving further away from the original in winning fashion; a clear album highlight. Not every cover is a success as "War Pigs" feels stilted, especially in comparison to say Brownout's better suited horn based cover of the tune and Jane's Addiction "Mountain Song" loses it's core bass rumbling, substituting a thinner sound. 

The band's main source of inspiration and best delivery comes from Rage Against The Machine's catalog. "No Shelter" is grooving hip hop based around Sophia Urista's take on Zach de la Rocha's rhyming while "Know Your Enemy" delivers banging horn charts and solos around Urista's shouts.

The record wraps up with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" which is clearly inspired by RaTM's take of the song but manages it's own pumping spin on the classic tune of rebellion. More than jut a straight cover album Brass Against II infuses the originals with a vibrant sense of 2019 aggressiveness for divided political times.
Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

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