The Maopolski brothers of Sullivan County, New York are two of the most talented teenagers in contemporary metal, having composed three albums to date and supported the likes of Judas Priest, Deep Purple and Knocked Loose in the last five years. Their support slot on the same bill as Judas Priest is something that will always have a special place in their heart. “We live fifteen minutes away from Bethel Woods, where the original Woodstock was held, and when we found out Judas Priest and Deep Purple would be playing, we reached out and were given the opportunity to perform on a side stage before the headliners took the stage,” says bassist and co-vocalist, Reece.
The band’s third LP released at the beginning of June is a fine piece of progressive thrash metal that should win them more converts to the cause. First and foremost, Brotality want to dazzle with their metallic prowess, but they also have another motivation to write and perform their music. “Our mission as a band is to reach people who are hurting and show them love and hope regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs,” says Reece. Signed to Christian metal label, Rottweiler Records, many people like to highlight Brotality’s religious faith as a key element of their art, but the band recognise the dangers of being pigeonholed into this restrictive category. “We don’t want to limit our audience by putting a label on our music that describes one particular crowd of people. We want to write music that can connect to anyone, not just Christians. As the Bible puts it, we want to avoid putting a basket over our lamp,” says Reece.
The brothers will be rooming together at college next year but writing songs will always be their main passion. On average they practise at least once a week. “The best thing about Bryce and I being brothers is, for starters, it’s much easier to schedule gigs and practices. Also, we’re on the same page basically all the time, so coming up with riffs, vocal melodies, or conceptual ideas is always very easy and enjoyable.”
We asked the two brothers for an insight into what inspired their magnificent new album, The Woods Will End You. Here are the top seven influences on the making of their latest record.
7. Fantasy books
Reece Maopolski (vocals/bass): Namely, the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series by Tad Williams; The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan; and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. As an avid reader of fantasy books, I’m captivated by the ability of words to transport the reader into another world. As a lyricist, I want to have a unique style that can reach people wherever they are, so storytelling with fantastical elements has been my way to communicate through lyrics.
6. Caligula’s Horse
Reece: They’re a lesser-known band within the prog metal scene, but I think they write some of the best music I’ve ever heard. Some of the more progressive moments on our album, like in ‘The Moon Below’, were directly influenced by riffs off their Rise Radiant album.
5. Kublai Khan
Reece: This band is a favourite of mine and Bryce’s, and we’re suckers for some filthy hardcore riffs. On our track, ‘Frost Empire’, the bass and drum parts are hugely influenced by them, and my bass tone is heavily inspired by them as well.
Bryce Maopolski (guitar/vocals): Especially the song, ‘Green Theme’. The chorus is so massive and euphoric. It sounds so happy and epic. You can feel the energy and joy in that song, and we wanted to capture that in our songs.
3. August Burns Red’s lyrics
Reece: In every one of ABR’s songs, they discuss real issues but always with a positive turn around. This is something that I sought to do in every track off The Woods Will End You as I am a firm believer in maintaining a positive attitude and perseverance through trial.
2. Deaf Heaven
Bryce: Bringing that extreme black metal vocal into a song that isn’t a straight black metal song and using it as a layer rather than a lead part is something we wanted to utilise in songs such as ‘Sludgehammer’.
1. Various Mastodon songs and albums
Bryce: Their punishing, no-nonsense riffs come at you and pound you. We love that and try to include that in our songs.
*** Brotality released The Woods Will End You via Rottweiler Records on 3 June 2022. You can read the original SBR review here.