We always hear the term ‘less is more’. It's a term that certainly fits this Belgian trio. Brutus may only have three musicians, but they manage to pack so many ideas and so much passion into their debut album, Burst, after 3 years together.
Brutus’ progressive nature is evident straight from the opening track, March. It's frenetic guitar melody is a complex one that seems like a great fit for any prog metal band, but with a sudden punk rock injection and a bass that bounces and chases alongside, you already realise this band is incredibly different.
Drummer/vocalist Stefanie sings delicately and cleanly with gorgeous vocal hooks that blend right in on the opener. Stefanie’s voice on All Along and onwards takes a real step up though. Her voice is absolutely stunning, with beautiful breaks that squeeze and twist your emotions. The lyrics are seemingly personal and based around love’s best and worst moments, and she is pouring every ounce of cathartic energy into her lines. It's a wonder to know how she keeps up the pace on her drums.
The pace doesn't break on Not Caring. Post rock leads of guitar take them into the stratosphere. Melodies clinging on for desperation over rolling drums and those soaring vocals. The song has a real crescendo, with blast beating and a chord progression taking everything to another level.
There is a real dramatic punk rock vibe too. The guitar picking on Justice De Julia II and others have a loose and live feel to them. Drive leads with an atmospheric moment. Shimmering guitar delays stretching into what becomes a real fist pumping anthemic chorus. Crack/Paste’s opening brings the prog riffing heard at the beginning of the album back for an injection of driving punk that wouldn't sound lost amongst Refused’s best writing.
A change of pace comes in the form of Bird. Everything beating with a slow pounding of emotion. The guitar has a real juxtaposition here; heavy and distorted minimalism and glacial post rock tones pull apart the thread from verse to chorus; the singing treading lightly over until the lonely, intense and more aggressive finale.
It's incredible how Brutus manage to keep the abundance of energy and passion under control on Burst. They know just how to reign it in, pulling on your emotions and keeping their vocal hooks in your head. This is an astounding debut. Brutus, though small in numbers, deserve to be huge.
For fans of Savages, Marmozets and The Distillers.
Burst is out in the UK 24th February through Hassle Records.