Big Brave - Nature Morte review
|Release date:||February 2023|
01. Carvers, Farriers And Knaves
02. The One Who Bornes A Weary Load
03. My Hope Renders Me A Fool
04. The Fable Of Subjugation
05. A Parable Of The Trusting
06. The Ten Of Swords
A big sound in a small bottle.
My love for Big Brave should be common knowledge by now, band I've praised again and again, and whose "anxiety metal" dubbing still remains among my "must mentions" every time I encounter them. There's something about this kind of sound that really really works for me, even with other bands like Swans or Wrekmeister Harmonies, bands that could literally play the same note for hours and still sound engaging because of how the tension in the sound is constructed. That said, by the time Vital dropped I was starting to struggle with uniquely describing it and figuring out how to proceed with Big Brave's albums. Then they did me a great service and collaborated with The Body.
In the greater sense Nature Morte sounds more like Vital and the continuation of the core Big Brave sound than the left-field psychedelic folk of Leaving None But Small Birds, considering that they're still mostly the same tricks that they're employing. Mostly. And though some of it is true novelty, in retrospect, a lot of it stems from the collaboration with The Body happening prior to this one. Though Swans remains one of the biggest points of reference, Big Brave have also never sounded this much like Earth, filling there drone with a sun baked sensation, and the occasional twang pushes the sound a lot closer to Americana that betrays the Appalachian folk that the band dabbled in a record before.
That's still mostly some nice embeddings on the already established sound. From the get-go, from the "hold on this sounds like the middle of the track" start of "Carvers, Farriers And Knaves", Big Brave play to their usual strength: loud distorted repeated drone over repetitive loud distorted percussion over Robin Wattie's impassioned vocals. And if it was just that, Nature Morte would still be a bloody good record, though one we've mostly heard before. Even with how purposeful all the sounds and lack thereof sound within the tension building sound, it's the more formless explorations of interludes like "My Hope Renders Me A Fool" and the softer balladry of "The Ten Of Swords" that act like palette cleansers. And since I mentioned the obvious highlight that is Wattie's vocal performance, a lot more of Nature Morte seems inspired by poetry, hymns, and folk tradition to deviate from the wails in a way that feels inspired by the folk of Leaving None But Small Birds.
The mark of Leaving None But Small Birds is not colossal on Nature Morte, and without it it might still have been the best example of Big Brave's mastery in building tension, but because of how much it informs the band's deviation from their established sound, it casts a larger shadow than meets the eye, and one that hopefully pushes Big Brave even further down the line of experimentation.
This has been yours truly's 700th review.
||Written on 04.03.2023 by|
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