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Music Review

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Artist: Brutus
Label: Hassle Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 February 2017

Brutus is a heavy atmospheric trio hailing from Leuven in Belgium. It comprises singing drummer Stefanie Mannaerts, guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden, and Peter Mulders’ bass. Initially, the latter two played as a tribute to Swedish band Refused, but after Stefanie turned-up to an audition and blew them away with her talent, the trio went in their own direction. Burst, released by Hassle Records, is the debut album. The tracks are: 'March', 'All Along', 'Not Caring', 'Justice De Julia II', 'Drive', 'Bird', 'Crack / Waste', 'Looking For Love on Devils Mountain', 'Horde II', 'Baby Seal', and 'Child'.

I was quite intrigued at the prospect of hearing a band that the music press, such as NME and Kerrang!, has said so many remarkable things about. It seems that Brutus is described slightly differently by practically everyone who hears them. Rock sub-genres include: Punk, Metal, Heavy Rock, Psycho Pop!, Trash, Mogwai, Hardcore, and many more. My own view is Heavy Pop Punk. The road drill-consistent Tsunami of sound is penetrated by high-pitch (even shrill) vocals which are rather disconcerting in the first instance. It seems so out of place and, although the shock wears off a little, the tone of the singing is almost universally monotone. This is a shame, because there are some interesting guitar hooks which are rather tainted by the air-raid siren singing at the hands of the drummer. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t suppose it’s easy. I can hardly drum with any sort of competence, let alone sing at the same time.

This unusual singing and drumming combination means that most of the best beats are in the instrumental parts, which have their moments. The stand-out track is 'Justice De Julia II', as the construction of the song is eminently different. It features the only change of pace for the vocals, giving a taste of how varied the songs could have been. There are some nice guitar pieces in it, too. Perhaps a shorter E.P. would have had significantly more impact, but this album-length release I find too ‘samey’.


Ty Power

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