Review Summary: Catchy, guitar driven alternative rock with a progressive metal edge. Like Cam Gigandet in Never Back Down, Driven is near impossible to beat as a single. So if you don't mind taking a round house kick to the face by all means go forth........
While I was on vacation I found a new issue of the greatest metal magazine, in my opinion, known to man. The magazine hails by the name of Unrestrained and I can always count on this publication to turn me onto some new stuff. Problem is, the magazine runs about four issues per year. Not only that, last time I came across this magazine was when I was acting as a roadie in Georgia about nine months ago. I’ve had a hard time keeping tabs with this publication over the past year but once again we cross each others path. And once again, Unrestrained might have turned me onto my new favorite band. The band is called Brave and they originate from Washington DC. I was introduced to a music review for a brand new album called “Monuments” and it had everything I look for in a record. Consistently strong song writing, infectious hooks, and impressive instrumentation not to mention a possible contender for top single of 2008 in “Driven“.
Monuments is a difficult to pin down album blending elements of alternative, progressive rock, indie, and symphonic/heavy metal into a scorching cocktail that hasn’t been seen around these parts since Jerry chugged a gallon of cinnamon. Starting with charismatic front woman Michelle Loose. Her voice is powerful and METAL! while pleasant enough to attract fans that aren’t too keen on Nightwish, Theatre Of Tragedy, After Forever, etc. She shines especially on the single “Driven” as well as Without You who’s opening riff reminds me of new Enslaved meets 80’s glam rock. The unpredictability of songs is quite amazing in it’s own right. The dark gothic atmosphere of ‘Sooner Or later builds off a solid foundation of spectacular Amon Amarth-esque chugging and vocals reminiscent of Lacey Mosley. The bands secret weapon lies in violin player Suvo Sur who contributes all piano/synthesizer and violin. The layering techniques are damn near perfect in creating the perfect atmosphere for Brave to be epic and daunting while frolicking in glitzy soloing and heavy blast beating. As well as Brave pull off the aggressive tempos, they manage to kick things up just as nicely when they slow down. “Something To This” feature some mellow picking and a superb violin solo complementing the emotive vocals of Michelle. The album has way too many standouts to mention so I’ll just leave it at three if that’s alright with you folks.
Simply put, Michelle has a stunning voice. She has a rather straightforward and accessible approach which might appeal more to those who generally have a negative opinion to most female fronted metal bands. Very crisp and uplifting, her voice lights up the rhythm section, at times illuminating Dolores O Riordan and Lacy Mosley. The guitar duo of Matt and Scott is impressive beyond any worded descriptions. They beef up the band’s songwriting skills with incredible melodies countering heavy yet technical riffs all while intertwining with piano and violin arrangements. Solos zig-zag back and fourth with incredible precision and constant momentum building movements. Drumming is also handled pretty well by Trevor Schrotz. The rapid firing intro to “Driven” feeds off as a nice example for an album preview Lightning fills and double bass make up Ben’s diet. He is also not afraid to blast either. I’m looking at you “Hero.” The bass lines are tight and grooving courtesy of Ben Kelly. The bass tone rumbles like da-da-da- ba-da da ba.
Instrumentation is tightly wedged between catchiness and accessibility with heavier and more progressive elements making for an enjoyable listen without simplifying the formula. The songwriting on “Monuments” is incredibly varied and captivating making for a whole lot of killer tracks and not so much filler. That is the single asset capable of pulling these guys and gal into the heart of the mainstream. If you consider yourself a fan of alternative, indie, and classical with a slight metal edge then I suggest you check out one of the years more underrated albums.