By AJ Phink
Hailing from Leuven, Belgium, Brutus create a pummelling, meteor-shower of sound, they mix intense black metal blast beats and math-rock flourishes with brash post rock tones and hardcore punk intensity, to make make a sound as monolithic and frantic as it is emotive and unique. Stefanie Mannaerts delivers both the beats and the vocals, a delivery that to me seems reminiscent of Penetration‘s Pauline Murray, alongside guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden‘s ethereal treble laced style and Peter Mulders’ powerful sub-frequency bass lines. Burst was released yesterday, the 24th February, and is now available via digital platforms, and on physical formats via Hassle Records.
Frantic opener March means that Burst hits the ground with pounding drums and a driving technical riff that’s juxtaposed against a soaring female vocal, this segues into All Alone that delivers more of the same, intricate riffs played at breakneck pace that are overlaid with an emotive female vocal, one that carries melody and sweetness one second and abruptly switches to a vocal straining rasp the next. This style occupies much of the album but there are tracks that deviate from their genre spanning hybrid, Drive stands out on the album, with it’s revved up post punk style and echo drenched guitars, a track that hints at an influence from the likes of The Chameleons, whilst the atmospheric Bird brings a more reflective downbeat element to the mix.
Brutus‘s sound spans everything from rock and punk through to math rock and hardcore, this kind of marriage is a hard trick to pull off, yet Brutus have managed it without breaking sweat. There are constant changes in the timing and pace, often during a single track, if this had been a straight up full tilt assault it would have become a repetitive technical exercise, but the creativity and unpredictability contained on this album mean that Brutus have delivered something unique on their debut release. The intensity of hardcore is married to the technical elements of math rock and the attitude and delivery of post hardcore to create a deceptively subtle and melodic debut release, one that simultaneously manages to be brash and heavy, making Burst an impressive and original debut