I saw Bruxa Maria at one fine Desertfest London in 2017. It was teeth rattling, to the point I had to go and wind down at Inter Arma afterwards. So, with this latest release, it’s good to hear that Gill Dread and gang haven’t changed. Bruxa Maria are a forceful reminder of why you shouldn’t just make your peace with the things that drive you crazy.
Their gritty, noisy, harsh sound is an expression of anger against modern day dysfunctions. There is bitterness and anxiety in each track title on Build Yourself A Shrine And Pray, whether it concerns despots on Totalitarian Pissing having their fabled ‘contest’, or the meaningless co-option of values by the corporate world on Accountability (Lose Your Job).
But while the rage is still there, this album is more nebulous and philosophical, progressing from the likes of Manual Labour Vs Office Dickheads from 2020s The Maddening. There is no elevated Nosferatu-style gothic dread here, just the miserable concrete dust of reality that makes you hack and cough, as captured by the thousand-yard stare on the album cover.
Overall, the band have kept their time-honoured approach of abrasive tension and chaotic release, like on the opener, and title track, Build Yourself A Shrine And Pray, that’s caustic and exhausting. A noisy swell develops, before Paul Anthony’s drumming drives the mass of noise forward with heavy cymbal hits and brittle snare drum cracks.
The metallic chugs, pounding percussion and Gill Dread’s scornful vocals create a granular sound of venomous rage…
In a world of pointless intros, it prepares you for the rest of the album while also being a solid song in its own right. Even in the more (relatively speaking) straight up punk tracks, such as Run Pilgrim, with reverb heavy vocals, noisy guitar shredding and Dave Cochrane’s thick wiry bass tone, you will nod your head, but still feel the noise.
However, overall, Bruxa Maria seem to have opted for fewer abstract moments compared with Human Condition from their debut album. Instead, they have developed some swaggering, tight riffs that show off their dangerous energy. And with this band, it’s real. The metallic chugs, pounding percussion and Gill Dread’s scornful vocals create a granular sound of venomous rage. Even the tracks, led by Robbie Judkins, based on synth and noise work is appropriately cold and dystopian. The production has a surprisingly intimate, plug and play feel but pushed to the very extremes.
It’s really exciting to hear this band develop and become even more forceful that’s oddly comforting in today’s world. Third albums can often be tricky but apparently not if you are Bruxa Maria.
Scribed by: James Bullock