Big|Brave
A Gaze Among Them


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (213 Reviews)
May 18th, 2019 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Drone, with light, and increasingly compulsive with every listen.

Drone isn’t nearly as lifeless as the majority may perceive it. True enough, it can portray a dimly lit, grimacing face whose glass eyes appear to stare ominously through your own, merely inches away, however, it is such a disciplined genre that it commands more of an authoritative presence than simply a ‘creepy’ or ‘dark’ aura. Rather, drone is volcanic in appearance and character. Seemingly dormant, this ugly, menacing mass can blot out the sun and cast an otherwise picturesque landscape in perpetual shade without even moving. Yet, when patience and pressure reach a climax, this stubbornly immobile thing explodes, spewing forth an image of unquenchable destruction and naturalistic wonder. Darkness and destruction are often the most assimilated attributes with Drone, which is why when a band who exhibit the opposite to the genre’s common denominators materialise, they are able to rise above the void of bands sticking to the tried-and-tested formula.

Big|Brave rarely illustrates a threatening or perilous sound; their music is too warm to cast that icy and steely aesthetic associated with hostile soundscapes and they also prefer a minimalistic approach in favour of maximisation. Starting with an incredibly simple drum beat and an unobtrusive melody, this minimalism is established immediately in the opening seconds of “Muted Shifting of Space”. Similarly, “A Gaze Among Them” is elegantly constructed whereby empty space amongst Loel Campbell’s drums are illuminated by flits of Mathieu Ball’s guitar and Robin Wattie’s gliding vocals. Due to the repetitive components in each song, an impressive way Big|Brave increases the intensity of their songs is apparent in “Holding Patterns” whereby the rhythm remains completely unchanged but the band are able to build an overwhelming tone by striking a guitar string or drum head gradually harder as the song progresses. It’s difficult to pinpoint the threshold between what is considered light and dark in this kind of music, but it certainly seems as though Big|Brave’s intentions are aimed more at comfort than discomfort.

Nonetheless, Big|Brave create a raw sound whose looming, imperious presence is as unavoidable as their counterparts. When the bass comes in a smidgen before the halfway point of “Muted Shifting of Space”, it’s like having your legs buckle under the impact of a sledgehammer slamming into the back of your knees. The guest appearances from Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on Contrabass and Seth Manchester's blanket of synth help control the tremoring level of noise at the crux of “Body Individual”. Creating a massive wall of noise is easy, but making that noise emotive is difficult and Big|Brave are able to create a wall of sound that acts like an approaching menace, be it fear, awe or doom. Although cliché, Robin Wattie’s light vocals do make the heavier background song even more cumbersome. Her beautiful ever-comprehensible voice has this kind of narrative charisma which pierces the thick textures her bandmates weave, never interferes with what’s going on with the instrumentalism and, when isolated, it almost seems like she’s not specifically intending her voice to raise or drag in places, she’s just letting it out freely.

Upon listening to Big|Brave’s latest album, the question of whether this is actually Drone at all crops up. Arguably, it’s too experimental to be considered something as latent as such. Certainly, the dull throbbing throughout “Sibling” is densely layered, weighty, ominous and repetitive, however, in the 5 tracks that “A Gaze Among Them” contains, there are numerous tonal shifts that alter the expression of the song and they are executed by the band in a way that seems completely natural. Shadows are entirely at the mercy of light. Big | Brave has harnessed that light, manipulated it, and illuminated a genre that has stubbornly remained obscured in darkness in grand style; a gaze among them.



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user ratings (28)
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3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Azog
May 18th 2019


178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was hooked within seconds.

teamster
May 18th 2019


4211 Comments


Holy shit , this got reviewed! Love the tone and female vox. Very short but very sweet album. Post metal AOTY candidate. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Atlases - HAAR

Taxt
May 18th 2019


1304 Comments


Sounds cool, I'll check this for sure. Nice review!

Lord(e)Po)))ts
May 18th 2019


43287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The fuck is with the pipe in this bands name all of the sudden?

Digging: A l l i e - Nightshade

kevbogz
May 18th 2019


1298 Comments


damn ok this slaps hella asscheek

garas
May 19th 2019


999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It was 'okay'.

Digging: Paysage d'Hiver - Schattengang

kevbogz
May 19th 2019


1298 Comments


dude cmon it was a lil better than 'okay'

Uzumaki
May 19th 2019


988 Comments


I've been looking forward to hearing this as soon as I heard it was coming out; their previous album, "Ardor" was simply fantastic. Good review, and can't wait to get my copy and listen to it!

Digging: Ode To The End - Fiend

Pho3nix
May 19th 2019


642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty good.



I kinda think I would have preferred just the instrumentation minus the vocals, even if they are very cool in a Björk-ish kind of way

Lord(e)Po)))ts
May 19th 2019


43287 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Muted Shifting of Space has got to be one of their best songs

deezer666
May 19th 2019


4320 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I totally get how people dont like this band but I really like them and this was as good as id hoped for.

Digging: Adrift - Pure

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2019


16034 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Been putting this away until I could give it proper time cause I knew I was gonna dig it. 1 minute in and already loving it.

Digging: Fire! Orchestra - Arrival

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2019


16034 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Heavy Emma Ruth Rundle's latest vibes on this thing. So good.



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