Review Summary: Bursting at the seams with sound
Brutus is a melting pot of sound whose style ranges from the aggressiveness of hardcore punk to the ethereal atmosphere heard in shoegaze. This Belgian three-piece combines the best of many genres, such as the soaring guitar tremolo picking from post-rock, the frantic drumming heard in black metal, and the desperate shouting in punk music to create the monolithic force heard on this album. The band’s frontwoman, Stefanie Mannaerts, takes on half of the band’s responsibilities. Not only does she bring the energy through her voice, but she is also the woman behind the drum kit.
From beginning to end, Burst
does not allow for a shortage of energy. The second track “All Along” encapsulates nearly everything the album has to offer. Playing at the pace of a punk song, the track dives into a barrage of sound that can be compared to acts such as Deafheaven and Oathbreaker. This blackgaze influence is frequent throughout the duration of the album. There is also a strong post-rock influence on tracks such as “Not Caring” and “Drive” in which the band will feature crescendo-driven instrumental sections. However, Burst does not fall short of passionate singing either. Stefanie pours her heart into her vocal performances for the entirety of the album, with her voice sometimes being on the verge of giving out from her intensity.
progresses, tracks like “Horde II” and “Baby Seal” may seem like filler that does not offer anything new or different to what the band has already accomplished at this point in the duration. The band may have a tendency to reuse song structures already heard from earlier tracks, and Stefanie’s lyrical redundancy will often contribute to this. However, while the back half of the album may take a dip in power, it ends on a high note with the closer “Child.” This track perfectly sums up the album as it dynamically moves up and down to build up to a crescendo of soaring vocal melodies in a triumphant soundscape.
During a year where it seems like established rock and metal bands are dropping safe or lackluster albums, Brutus has released an honest record that feels like a sigh of relief. Burst
wears its heart on its sleeve, and shows you exactly what it wants you to feel. If there was ever a chance to get excited about a rock album this year, it’s already here.