Brutus (BE)
Unison Life



by Chamberbelain USER (214 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2022 | 1 replies

Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Brutus strives for refinement and balance and finds deserved success in the process.

There’s so much division in the world. Everyone’s trying to make the best of a bad situation and just when things are starting to go right, life decides to lob yet another obstacle in your pathway that appears so specifically designed to disrupt your life in particular, despite the fact that same obstacle is present in millions of people’s lives. It’s all so overwhelming that any glimmers of hope are often obscured by this veil of despair. However, every now and then, light prevails. We are facing trials but so is everyone else so that means we are not alone in our hopelessness and if, as individuals, we can conceive something going horribly then by default it is possible to conceive the same thing positively. There is always an invisible balance at play, determining our judgements and shaping our lives, guiding us down that perilous pathway.

The search for that perfect balance is rooted in the third album by Belgium trio, Brutus. Every song on “Unison Life” outlines an intent on bonding opposing emotions, behaviours, and features to create a harmonious effect. Lyrically, “Victoria” is full of angst and exhaustion as singer/drummer Stephanie Mannaerts describes a tireless attempt at supporting friends and loved ones at her own expense. Musically, however, it features a cheery tone and an infectious chorus. Combined, the song portrays itself as a fake smile that evokes this balance of looking okay on the outside but dying on the inside. Other songs are similar in technique but sometimes the balances are tipped. Despite the delicate melodies, “What Have We Done” leans more on the distraught side through Stephanie’s stark statements meanwhile “Miles Away” is drenched in a comforting nest of soft melodies that is occasionally pierced by rough bursts of feedback.

Naturally, this approach is nothing particularly new to a band who have been exemplifying how to unite a kaleidoscope of genres since 2013 with irresistible success. So, what is it about these songs that set them apart from others that follow similar patterns? It’s the intangible senses behind these songs that illustrate their distinction; the things that you can’t see but feel. You can notice them during the outstanding transition from tiptoeing melodies to Peter’s chunky bass stomps during “Liar”, the extra oomph behind the snapping vocals in “Dust” to make that frustration just a little more pronounced, or the way Stijn expertly controls a wall of sound to genuinely make it sound like Stephanie’s wails are smothered by torrential rainfall in the beautiful album closer, “Desert Rain” These songs corkscrew through frequent turns and paces but every direction is made with purpose. Quite literally, a heightened sense of unity is felt throughout “Unison Life” and as a collective, the album screams vitality.

Maturity, attentiveness, drive. Brutus is not a band that gambols around a range of genres simply because it’s popular for bands to do at the moment. They make the music feel and when they cherry-pick sounds or techniques from hardcore, rock, and post-whatever-you-call-it to achieve the emotion that benefits the song then it’s chosen with the bigger picture in mind. They’re so organically intertwined together that these sudden curveballs aren’t really unexpected. Transitioning from upbeat, adrenalized riffing to a trembling, anxious wall of tremolo doesn’t come across as forced or erratic during “Unison Life” because each song’s trajectory is laid out so naturally ahead of you. In a way, you can almost predict what may happen next- if there’s a trembling wall of tremolo, it’ll build to such an inevitable breaking point and you know the melodies after are going to sound shattered and weary. That’s not to say Brutus has become predictable as there are plenty of surprises scattered around the album but this sense of expecting greatness from the band and them delivering on that makes the songs even more enjoyable.

Although you can notice the improvements from previous works when up close and personal with the songs, it’s at a distance where you can truly appreciate the sheer potential that Brutus has harnessed and how deserving they are of it. Few bands are able to do what Brutus does and those that attempt to replicate the sound in some way fall short of a lack of individuality. At this point, Brutus is past the title of ‘best upcoming band’ given how much they’ve already achieved. Instead, “Unison Life” will oversee Brutus becoming one of the most beloved bands to break out of the scene. Life isn’t so bad after all.

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user ratings (203)
other reviews of this album
Erwann S. STAFF (3.5)
Another of those "maturity albums"...

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 25th 2022


Album Rating: 2.5

last two songs are cool but this is a big pile of meh

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