Brick by Brick – Hive Mentality (Upstate Records)Sunday, 17th February 2019
A singular focus can often grant some great opportunities if pointed in the right direction. For upstate NY’s Brick by Brick, that potent angle is that of aggression. The band’s seventh album, Hive Mentality, carries with it nothing if not a double dose of brutality and anger. A sure-fire winner for anyone looking to channel some inner rage.
With riffs that plant themselves firmly somewhere between the crossroads of a straight-up hardcore stomping and metallic attitude, it’s a furious combination that is bound to incite a charge for many. Pick a track and simply wait for the heavy riffs to sink in, with an occasional groove or breakdown to be employed (“Battleground”). It’s visceral, immediate, and the type of thing that can start a riot in the live setting. Then there are songs like “Toe to Toe” that offer some further leaning into metal territory with an enjoyable lead to counter the pointed aggression of the rest of the track. The balance is there, providing some interesting moments but without derailing the adrenaline train. Some effectively used guests (particularly Alekhine’s Gun vocalist Jessica Pimental on the title track) add some color to Ray Mazzola’s forceful barks and keep the album moving ahead with plenty of teeth. Covers of “Slave to the Grind” and “Iron Fist” successfully integrate some BxB flavor into the tracks while keeping a bit of familiarity, closing the album with a little bit of twist to the formula.
Brick by Brick serve the anger quotient up on high with Hive Mentality, and it accomplishes its mission with flying colors. It’s volatile and fun, which is a great combination for fans of this particular style, even if it treads waters that may feel familiar.