Brodequin wield fresh instruments of torture on ‘Harbinger of Woe’


Brodequin come with a long and sordid history. Jamie and Mike Bailey have been banging people’s heads together since 1998. Their first album catapulted the brothers far beyond their kingdom of Knoxville, Tennessee. But after seizing the throne as one of the most brutal rulers in all of metal, the band disappeared into the shadows.

Now, after 20 years, Brodequin are returning with Harbinger of Woe. The band’s fourth album lives up to their namesake. It’s dark and torturous, but also technically exquisite. Heck, some might even call it a work of art.

Watch the medieval video for “Of Pillars and Trees”, which was created by Matti Way of From the North Films    

Harbinger of Woe comes out March 22, 2024.


“Of Pillars and Trees” is classic Brodequin. Mike‘s riffs churn like severed limbs through a meat grinder. New drummer Brennan Shackelford pings his cymbals with all the murderous intent of a spiked mace. Heck, the death growls are nasty enough to make you think that Jamie is sucking the blood of his enemies through a straw.

As with every Brodequin song, “Of Pillars and Trees” is rooted in real events. Jamie explains:

“This song finds its inspiration in the historical practices that involved the utilization of trees for the purpose of torture and execution. Among the myriad methods employed, a prominent example was the affixing of an individual to a pillar, or, more commonly, a tree trunk through the use of long iron nails”. 

But “Of Pillars and Trees” also branches out into new territory for the band. Mike says:

“The creation process for ‘Pillars’ started out much like any other Brodequin track. It wasn’t until the mid-section came together that it began to diverge. I wanted to slow things down a bit but add some depth with multiple guitar tracks instead of just droning a single riff. As the layers were being written, I kept hearing a synth pattern in my head. But instead of using an actual synth, I recreated what I was hearing on my guitar, using plenty of reverb and delay to get the tone as close to what I was imagining as possible”.

1. Diabolical Edict (3:29)
2. Fall ​Of The Leaf (2:33)
3. Theresiana (3:03)
​4. Of Pillars and Trees (4:03) [WATCH]
5. Tenaillement (2:53)
6. Maleficium (3:09)
7. VII Nails (2:17)
8. Vredens Dag (3:20)
9. Suffocation in Ash (3:05)
10. Harbinger of Woe (4:04)

The Middle Ages might’ve brought the world out of The Dark Ages. But for every compass or printing press, those enlightened thinkers were also responsible for inventing the most torturous devices in human history. None were more brutal than the brodequin. Not only did the French use this instrument to cripple their victims, but to squeeze their legs to the point where bone marrow would spill out of their wounds.    

You could say the same about Brodequin. The band come with their own long and sordid history. Brothers Jamie and Mike Bailey have been playing brutal death metal since 1998. Putting his history degree to good use, Jamie‘s lyrics are inspired by real historical events, staying true to death metal’s core thematic pillars of dismemberment, torture, abuse and murder. But their artwork broke from genre’s generic splatter illustrations by digging into intricate period woodcuts and beautifully grotesque oil paintings. Says Jamie:

“There simply was no point in history that was more brutal than the medieval period. At the same time that such barbarity was deployed, there was also an explosion in fine art, architecture and music. It all comes to feed our identity as a band”.   

Brodequin‘s first album catapulted them far beyond their kingdom of Knoxville. “This band has stuck out in the underground with relentless, barbaric intensity”, says Dying Fetus‘ vocalist and guitarist John Gallagher, who named Instruments of Torture one of the most brutal death metal albums ever. Festival of Death put another flesh-tearing arrow in their quiver (“Some of the fastest, most brutalizing death metal ever recorded” – Sputnik Music). But after sieging festival stages across Europe with Methods of Execution, the band had to be put on ice.  

Jamie explains:

“We had a series of deaths in our family. Mike and I knew we had to step away until we had the time and were at a place mentally to give Brodequin the attention it deserved.”  

Now, after 20 years of peaceful silence, Brodequin have returned with fresh instruments of torture. The Brothers Bailey are back with a new drummer, a new label and their long-awaited fourth album. Jamie says:

“Brodequin had been away for so long that I was stunned by the level of interest from fans and record labels. Before playing Hellfest, the band was approached backstage by a metalhead rocking a Brodequin t-shirt who happened to work for Season of Mist. Soon enough, they were hitting it off with Michael Berberian. The rest, as they say, is history. 

“We all hung out for hours. The extraordinary level of enthusiasm shown toward our music made Season of Mist the obvious choice”. 

As has been the case with this band for their entire career, Harbinger of Woe lives up to its name. Lead single “Of Pillars and Trees” is classic Brodequin. Mike‘s distorted guitar chords churn like limbs through a meat grinder. The way Brennan Shackelford pings, blasts and flays his snare through “Suffocation in Ash” with the all encompassing speed of a sandstorm. Jamie‘s growls are so phlegmy, so rotted, that to drag them out from whatever dark bowel movement spawned them would make an executioner sick to their stomach. And yet — somewhere deep inside all that carnage hides a terrifying beauty. The title track leaves you deaf, dumb and blind, begging on your knees in the face of a punishing, almighty riff.    

“This album is a journey into this lost period of history where brutality and beauty coexist. Beauty, in the arts the were created, but also the beautiful brutality that was needed to engineer deadly devices like the brodequin”.  

With Harbinger of Woe, Brodequin reclaim their throne as the most brutal band in all of death metal.

Line up:
Jamie Bailey: Bass/Vocals
Mike Bailey: Guitar
Brennan Shackelford: Drums

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