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Brutus (BEL) - Unison Life review

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Band: Brutus (BEL)
Album: Unison Life
Style: Post-Hardcore
Release date: October 2022

01. Miles Away
02. Brave
03. Victoria
04. What Have We Done
05. Dust
06. Liar
07. Chainlife
08. Storm
09. Dreamlife
10. Desert Rain

There are portions in your life where you're so tired of everything, and you're so grateful for musicians who make it so easy for you to feel the emotional impact of their music.

Brutus (BEL) (who we have to keep around with that annoying "(BEL)" because "Brutus" is already taken by an actual metal band we had featured already, plus there's also a Norwegian psych hard rock band of the same name that we're probably gonna add at some point) is the kind of band that I couldn't help but regularly come back to after reviewing their previous album, 2019's Nest, for our non-metal feature. I don't always have the time or drive to come back to stuff I reviewed, and even if I do, it's even rarer that I do it regularly. Even rarer is the case where I'm so looking forward to a new release that I listen to the promo singles regularly instead of just waiting for the entire album to drop. Well, here comes Brutus (BEL) being that exception.

Normally I'd bring genres up around this part of the review, but Brutus (BEL)'s post-everything sound is a bit hard to categorize with existing genre tags. Not really punk, hardcore, metal, or rock, not really Wolfecore, with not enough of any of those to confidently call the band a "[insert genre]" band. We chose post-hardcore and went with it because that's still the most accurate. It's definitely post-something in its instrumental melodies, though the songs still have pretty conventional song structures and reasonable lengths. It's intense musically, and especially emotionally, in a way that feels closest to emotional hardcore. Close, but not really.

The elephant in the room is how much the band relies on Stefanie Mannaerts' vocals for its emotional appeal. Her coarse PJ Harvey meets Serena Cherry vocals along with the very direct and vivid lyricism is very unsubtle in how expressive it is. And subtleness is cool and all, but the very direct emotional impact of a voice that feels like it's struggling to even whisper a sound and yet it screams feels immense. The "post" aspect of the music is also pretty direct, with the wall of sound of Stijn Vanhoegaerden's guitar and Peter Mulders' bass providing the backing punch for the pained vocal delivery. Worth noting that the most punkish aspect of the sound remains in the drums, coincidentally also performed by Stefanie.

However more than just being direct and emotional, Brutus (BEL) are apt at creating music that is also interesting and catchy. I had no problem feeling familiarity with the songs, especially the promo singles, after just one listen. The music, though not overly complicated, ebbs and flows though various soundscapes, some punkier, some more triumphantly reverb-filled, some mellower, all musically hefty beyond mere great chorus backed by punchy music. With a succinct enough runtime, Unison Life feels like a bloodletting of all the tiredness and trauma, all in a neat package.

Written on 04.11.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 75 users
07.11.2022 - 03:21
Great review and an event greater album. I've been listening to it since it came out and keep finding more and more gems within the songs. Stefanie's vocals and the instrumentals are just such a good match and I love that they didn't sacrifice their heavier and epic sounds with this record. I don't know what's in the water in Belgium but it makes some amazing bands.
08.11.2022 - 02:43
Rating: 8
Dream Taster
The Enemy Within
Great review indeed. I have been digging this album, there is something poignant about their music.
08.11.2022 - 08:19
Rating: 9
Ball Fondlers
Agree, good review. I really enjoy this album and yes it is one that is hard to shove into a genre, I'd just say Post Metal. I don't even think the music is that strong, but the vocals are just so good that I can't get enough
08.11.2022 - 15:43
The Evergreen
This is one of those bands that I'd never have thought I'd like, but I do. Thanks for the review!
02.12.2022 - 20:46
Nice review, Radu. Very good album, indeed.
14.06.2023 - 10:22
Rating: 8
Her vocals reminds me of that ofJulie Christmas' vocals.
Leeches everywhere.

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