Serial butcher Brute Force Labotomy 01No amount of misdirecting ledes or rhetorical flourishes can hide the fact that you already know Belgium’s Serial Butcher is a death metal band and Brute Force Lobotomy is a death metal record. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a sucker for things being exactly what’s shown on the proverbial tin; I once tried Corona after reading that it was beer and I live more apprehensively to this day because of it. Go ahead and put a lime slice in it, but it’s still terrible. Plus, why would any sane adult go to the effort of cutting up a lime just so they can drink a beer? Temporally it’s ridiculous because in the time it takes you to slice up a lime you could simply open and start drinking a better beer, and economically it’s ludicrous because limes don’t grow on trees in your backyard and Corona itself isn’t free. Before I get sidetracked, let’s get down to the business of death shall we?

Unsurprisingly, Serial Butcher play prefix-less death metal that’s technical but not gratuitously so and plenty brutal but not brutal death metal. There are many peers to whom similarities arise, with the most popular names being Corpsegrinder-era Cannibal Corpse and the underrated Blood Red Throne. Brute Force Lobotomy plays in the same ballpark as Severe Torture and Saprogenic as well, throwing blast beats, tremolo riffs, chugging, tempo shifts, audio samples, and everything else that comes to mind when you think “death metal” into a blender and making a pretty gory and modernistic smoothie out of it.

Logically speaking, I like death metal so I like what Serial Butcher is doing here. Kenneth Keyser tears through plenty of good riffs, Kurt Termonia’s vocals aren’t terribly varied but are good nonetheless, and the whole record is a reminder of why I like agile meat and potatoes death metal. A high energy cut like “Born on a Chopping Block” quench the thirst for decay with a Severe Torture inspired sound that brings decent (meat)hooks to the party, particularly in the nifty tapping bridge. Blood Red Throne‘s Come Death gets a big sloppy kiss on “Hypovolemic Shock” with a bunch of groovier Cannibal Corpse-isms that make for solid headbanging fodder and a fun listen. Apart from having one of the top ten song titles of 2015, “Rusty Lawnmowing Massacre” teases a chugging break, delivers blast beats under a solid riff instead, and then brings the sledgehammer down for a punishing half-time beatdown afterwards. It sounds like a simple songwriting trick, but it really works.

Serial butcher Brute Force Labotomy 02

To be blunt, the album on a whole works but it ultimately comes across as a mostly “stock” death metal effort. If someone were to ask you what death metal sounds like, you’d be absolutely correct in playing them Brute Force Lobotomy. If that same someone were to ask what great death metal sounds like, I can guarantee you’ll reach for something else. It’s not that Serial Butcher‘s music is bad or even uninteresting, but there’s no standout song on here that begs to be blasted for years to come or a consistently high level of quality that makes Brute Force Lobotomy stand out from the pack. While Serial Butcher is good, their obvious influences are better and if you’re a fan of those bands you likely have one or more of their records in your library, which makes Brute Force Lobotomy at best a decent addition and at worst entirely unnecessary. It’s a shame because again, it’s good, but Serial Butcher isn’t good enough to take the limelight away from genre greats both past and present or even second tier death metal bands. Instead, it falls into the abyss of competent, enjoyable, and thoroughly average death metal.

Brute Force Lobotomy embraces the modern approach to production, and as such Nico Veroeven’s solid performance suffers under compression and a replaced type of sound, but it’s mercifully not obnoxious nor damaging. Bass is loud and clear, which is a plus because Koen Van Goethem is quite the impressive player, and Keyser’s guitars are a little dirty but still allow every detail to be heard. Apart from turning the bass up a bit more, this is standard genre fare on the production front. I can go one step further and say that Serial Butcher is standard genre fare on every front, and that if you like death metal you should definitely check out Brute Force Lobotomy. You won’t be amazed, but you’ll be entertained, even if only for a couple of spins.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unique Leader Records
Websites: facebook.com/serialbutcher
Releases Worldwide: September 18th, 2015

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  • El_Cuervo

    Maybe it’s different in the Americas, but Corona is considered a pretty good lager over here in the UK….

    • Wilhelm

      It’s frat boy beer…tastes like puke. I’m surprised that with an area that has spawned heavenly ales and spirits that anyone would waste their time.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t like it, but I know many others who happily drink it. I knew a girl in Czech who said it was the only beer she drank. That kind of shocked me, considering the great beers she had at her disposal.

        I love all Czech beers, and treat myself to good beer once in a while here in Canada, but otherwise I’m an Old Style Pilsner guy (I know, not much of a connoisseur, eh? : ) ).

        • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

          Ah Old Style – you can hardly find it anywhere in the South anymore. That’s a good cheapy beer for sure.

        • Wilhelm

          That girl probably also prefers chef-boyaredee and powdered cheese. I’m sure she is looked down upon by her Czech neighbors.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s not considered good over in Canada (at least in my part of it), and we have Labatt over here. Here in Belgium it’s hardly even represented, which is great; even something like Stella Artois is very average/unremarkable beer here.

      • Martin Knap

        If only you knew what I’m drinking right now… Corona is ok compared to Taiwan Beer Classic :-)

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Probably in the same league as Belgian CaraPils beer, which is just the cheapest thing you can get. Both are probably still better than Corona though!

          • Martin Knap

            The problem is that this beer doesn’t fall into the cheep beer category, if you use some horrible ingredients (you just put powdered hops into water or whatever) and sell it by the gallon in Penny Market, than it’s understandable, but here they probably just didn’t know how to brew beer and then they got used to that taste and drink this s___ to this day.

          • sir_c

            Mash some corn. Piss on it and leave it fester for a while. Then label it with something fancy.

          • Martin Knap

            … label it “vegan”.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            It’s like assuming pizza is solely Domino’s…you have my condolences, Martin.

    • [not a Dr]

      Generally speaking, you export whatever crap you’re not going to drink. People in other countries will find it exotic and drink it anyways. The 4% alcohol content is far from enough to qualify as beer in Canada, but at least it’s not bad.
      2.0 (2.5 if you don’t like alcohol)

      • sir_c

        Just what the Dutch do with their Heineken.

        • Wilhelm

          Another “all-star” beer, Heineken is pretty damn expensive here in the states and people will pay for it because its foreign, but it’s no better than coors, miller, etc. Morons!

          • That is basically how sensible people view Corona in the UK.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I guess it depends on taste but Diabolus is right, Corona is pure shit. I live right next to the U.S.-Mexico border and I don’t know anyone who drinks it. We drink Tecate before we drink Corona. We call Corona “Coyote Piss” in these here parts.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I have always thought of Corona as bottling the water they used to wash the tanks REAL beer is made in. Better to sell it than let it go down the drain, right?

    • sir_c

      On hot bbq days it is okayish. But no match at all for the proper Belgian stuff… says a lot about English beer though…

      • I just saw this and thought I had better come to the defence of English beer: we have loads of very good beer, and Corona is considered “good” only by people that don’t really like beer. Forgive El Cuervo, for he knoweth not what he sayeth.

        • sir_c

          i was referring to the common definition of english beer. I do know (and enjoy) some nice porters, ales and IPAs.

          Apart from the IPAs, if I have to match an English beer to a Belgian one, the .be wins most of the time. Handsdown.

          But to be clear, that would be the same for Dutch beer (the country I’m living in).

          • There are so many small breweries in Britain now that I *think* we’ve overtaken Belgium as having the most beers (don’t quote me on that). I think British ones cover a wider range of styles than the Belgians, but equally there are lots of duds (and in my limited experience, fewer dud Belgians). Dutch beer I have no experience of outside Amstel, Grolsch, Orangeboom and Heineken… so, yeah…

    • It’s the worst mexican beer. Here’s considered little more than piss colored water. But it’s cheap. And supposedly the export is better than the swine bile they sell here.

      • Gabriel PérezMolphe

        I never understood why corona is so popular, XX is better, not great, but better, and at the same price. And bohemia is far much better. I’ve always wondered that. And I think indio is worse.

    • mauler77

      No, it’s crap everywhere. Although superior to Fosters of course.

    • Alexandre Barata

      You have access to all the great beer raining down from Belgium, and you talk about that donkey-piss Corona? Shame on you sir!

  • madhare

    Considering how often you guys discuss food (especially pizza) and drinks in your reviews, I’m starting to suspect that this is just a front for a hidden project…

    A.M.C. – Angry Metal Cock/Cook
    – Cocktails, recipes, lifestyle, and more

    In this week’s issue:
    “Headbanging and calories – you’re in for a surprise!”
    “All those songs of innuendo, and he still can’t find it!”
    “What’s too much in a pizza?”
    “Winter 2015 in viking & barbarian loincloth fashion”
    “Help! My partner is a secret Amaranthe fan!”
    “Shock yourself to that promotion – career lessons from BM”
    “Time for a Corona. Are imported beers worth it?”
    “Dear Doc, I was once in a power metal band. Will they ever grow back?”

    ;)

    • André Snyde Lopes

      “Steel Druhm’s burrito corner”

      • Steel Burritos: where only the kvlt and trve may dine

      • sir_c

        That is where black metal meets the brown note

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I think it’s mostly because we are slobs and sit around drinking, eating, listening to promos, and hammering out grease-and-sud induced ramblings.

    • Martin Knap

      When it comes to dieting, I full heartedly recommend extasy pills, that’s a real fat-torcher. Recommended to all lager-drinking, beer-bellied metal dudes. Outcome guaranteed. Full refund if not satisfied.

    • Thatguy

      In response to your last question – as a medical professional I can tell you the answer is no.

    • Tim Coates

      AMG – amazing meat grill

      • madhare

        Yeah, I’ve been re-thinking the acronym as well. Angy Metal Gourmet would also work nicely.

        Maybe it’s A.M. corp. with all these subsidiary brands… ;)

  • Martin Knap

    Best mutant power of all time?

  • eloli

    That cover alone deserves at least a 0.5 hike on the album’s final score. That is all.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      It’s a good one. Reminds me of that unofficial mascot Cannibal Corpse had going around the ‘Kill’ period, except this one seems to be saying “hey guys, check out what I just did! Neat, huh?” and that’s awesome.

      • eloli

        During my late teens and early 20s, I lived on my grandma’s house. Despite being a staunch Catholic, she was pretty tolerant about my metal listening and the fact that I was basically filling up her house with longhairs on a daily basis while writing and recording wholesome family ditties such as “Putrid Necrovomit”, “Rapist Loose in the Necropolis” and “Chainsaw Dismemberment Madness”. Anyway, I distinctly remember buying CC’s Butchered at birth –

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          The upvotes goes to your Grandma! Just think of all the crap she put up with just to watch you and make sure you didn´t get in trouble.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          My upvote goes to Re-animator.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      I think it’s pretty standard Unique Leader fare personally.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        Least accurately named label in recent memory

  • Francesco Bordoni

    NNNNNEAT!

  • Excentric_1307

    “…Before I get sidetracked…” Too late.

  • mauler77

    Listened to the album a few times this past week and have to agree, it’s good but nothing outstanding. Will probably disappear into the void for me pretty soon.

  • sssgadget

    Generic br00tal words combined into a band name — check!

    <3 rating guaranteed!

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      You might be on to something! Morbid Slaughter got a 1.5.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    This was a wonderful review.

  • You wot m8?

    1. Started reading.
    2. Turned on the embedded track to listen while I read.
    3. Stopped reading.

    This is the most “Meh” all the “meh”-centric metal I’ve heard in a ling time. Skip! Review was good though.

  • Adam

    The teardown of Corona is so on point… even compared to other mass produced lagers it’s trash

  • bolok

    i absolutely, positively, completely, wholeheartedly, 100%, without reserve or contradiction agree with all you say about corona! awful brew. very good review as well and thanks for giving me a chuckle in the opening paragraph :)