Brother Against Brother – Self Titled album

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Artist: Brother Against Brother

Album: Brother Against Brother

Label: Frontiers Records

Release Date: 11 June 2021

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Digital Price: 9.49 USD

Length: 48min 32s

Brother Against Brother shows yet again that the Brazilian metal scene has the talent and depth to pull off virtually any style of metal well. This is the debut release of this band which label Frontiers Records has compared to a major project also under Frontiers – the Allen/Lande project which was a collaboration of Symphony X’s Russell Allen with ex-Masterplan vocalist Jørn Lande. That project was quite successful with Lande’s great presence and Allen’s remarkably powerful voice, originally planned for only one album, but ending up with four. Similarly, Brother Against Brother is an album that is the result of another Frontiers-led collaboration between two of Brazil’s best vocalists.

In Brother Against Brother, Nando Fernandes of Sinistra meets Electric Mob’s Renan Zonta. They make an interesting pair – Zonta is known for soulful hard rock vocals, while Fernandes is a singer with a long metal pedigree. Fernandes does quite a good job here, bringing the charisma and credibility that only a seasoned multi-decade veteran of metal can. Zonta is comparatively much younger and less experienced but holds his own as an equally important contribution to this duo, especially when contrasting with Fernandes.

This format works when you have two vocalists that work well together, and the combination of Fernandes and Zonta does that well enough for this to be an enjoyable, fun listen. Fernandes really excels throughout Brother Against Brother, providing a gravitas and deep sounding tone reminiscent of the vocal style of Dio. His performance is certainly good enough here that it leaves me eager to hear more. Zonta’s style excels the most in his more balladic and clean sections – certainly, that is the style that Zonta is most experienced with. If you have not heard Electric Mob, make sure you do so – there is some fantastically bluesy work by that band. The two can complement each other quite well, such as in Whisper in Darkness with Zonta’s cleaner vocals harmonising with the harsher, heavy metal wails of Fernandes. Future releases should certainly take advantage of this.

Instrumentally this is not necessarily a highly intricate or innovative album, but this is a very much vocals-forward release where the relative simplicity of the instrumentals works in favor of Fernandes and Zonta. The two have the sort of chemistry that gives these tracks the extra bit of oomph that they need, although there are some nice solos that are the sort reminiscent of older 80s metal bands in tracks like Heaven Sent and Haunted Heart. Without Fernandes and Zonta these tracks might come off as a little par for the course musically, but thanks to the two there is a bombastic flair that really brings everything up a notch.

For an album that, instrumentally, does carry that more traditional sort of sound there is certainly more synth than I initially expected as well. Throughout the album, there are a variety of synth embellishments, all of which are a nice addition and give the music more of a modern melodic metal sort of flair. Another aspect of this album that works well is the middle eastern and Egyptian influences throughout. That of course plays into the overall idea of the album, a sort of story about two brothers in constant conflict over succession to the throne.

This is not just a thematic influence, but of course occurs musically as well. Tracks like Whisper in Darkness are quite reminiscent of the Dio track Gates of Babylon in that regard, and they serve well to create an atmosphere of mystery and drama. This is thanks in large part due to the work of the great Alessandro Del Vecchio, whose ability to enhance a track with a grandiose atmosphere is on full display throughout Brother Against Brother.

Brother Against Brother are an act built entirely around Fernandes and Zonta, with the rest of the band comprising mainly guest/session artists. Their work of course is no less important as a result of that, and it would be great to see them return in future releases – especially for Del Vecchio. Del Vecchio’s production, songwriting, key work, bass, and vocals in a variety of bands has just been a pleasure to witness, and he is just as important a component of Brother Against Brother as Fernandes and Zonta.

Additionally, we have some fun solos sprinkled throughout the album by Jonas Hornqvist (Bleed the Hunger, Treasure Land) whose emotive guitar work was a great choice for this album. To complete the band, we have Michele Sanna on drums, who has himself previously worked with Del Vecchio in the band Sunstorm. Overall, Brother Against Brother is an enjoyable release that shows off how talented Brazilian vocalists can be. Brother Against Brother packs a punch in that regard, vocals sung with so much energy and skill that they really are the heart of what makes these tracks a fun listen. There is some great potential for this duo.

I hope you enjoy Brother Against Brother.

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