Brotherhood’s August 5 gig at the White Rabbit is a succinct affair. The lights dim and the band tears out of the gate with “Colder Than Truth,” a racing number that proves Brotherhood still knows how to rip up a stage. When I heard Brotherhood was looking for a new vocalist in May, I was shocked. The local metal band is an established heavy-hitter, and former frontman Rod Nichols was not only a force to be respected but also the last original member of the band. Accepting that occasional lineup changes are inevitable in this outfit, the four remaining members quickly began holding tryouts after Nichols’s departure. The Jägermeister-endorsed band had already been slated for a coveted opening slot on the Rockstar Mayhem Festival’s August 13 stop in Dallas. They had no time to waste.
On July 24, Brotherhood played their first live show with new singer JoJo Badillo and it was … different. Badillo’s exceptional vocal diversity and range were notable, and the band behind him was tighter than ever. I liked what I heard, but still left feeling unsure — it’s not every day that one of San Antonio’s most accomplished bands replaces its vocalist, and I wasn’t as ready to accept the change as the band itself.
Fortunately Badillo has boosted his intensity over the course of the last few shows, bringing him up to par with the rest of the pack. Thrashy, angry tempos define the new sound, but the band’s style and attitude remain.
“We’ve come into the last time to endure/ I’ve waited to collapse beneath you once more,” the new frontman belts out in “Last to Endure,” the single from the band’s new EP, The Struggle, which has a projected October release. It’s the first time we’ve heard him sing verses tonight. Instead of trying to mimic Nichols, Badillo has played to his own strengths and interspersed the new tunes with some melodic choruses. The band is capable of moving in a different direction now, and this song shows why. Half-time breakdowns get fans into the groove, then drummer Dave McConnell effortlessly transitions into his signature Gatling-gun double bass to close the deal.
Fans of the old sound will gravitate toward “Misfortune Synopsis,” which retains the instrumentals from “Deliver Us,” a track off Brotherhood’s last album. The dual harmonies are perfectly executed by Alex Cantu and Adrian Cardenas, who take the multi-guitar lineup to its full potential. Bassist Andrew Salazar gets a chance to flaunt his chops on closer “Veil Remorse,” slapping the bass like it owes him money.
It’s important to remember that Brotherhood has gone through several lineup changes in the past. Each time, the newcomer has risen to the occasion by understanding and respecting the band’s past. Brotherhood is inviting fans to watch the band’s evolution this time around, an opportunity fans should fully embrace.
Thu, Aug 5
2410 N. St. Mary’s