BRUTUS | Unison Life | Review


Brutus is a Belgian band that has deeply rooted itself in various music styles. With strong previous releases such as "Nest" an "Burst", the trio has quickly become acclaimed in the post-hardcore scene. However, simply labelling them as post-hardcore would seem extremely simplistic. Their sound has a unique brand: a brand of courageous post-everythingness, visceral intensity, and wild untamed darkness. Their influences range from post-metal, shoegaze, to hardcore punk, yet the way these genres tend to overlap each other is never totalitarian. It holds a suspended everlasting balance that makes their style impossible to categorize.

This is also thanks to the drummer Stefanie Mannaert’s intimate yet powerful vocals, which turn every song into a heartfelt experience to be shared: we are no longer spectators witnessing someone's flow of emotions, we become it. She screams to to that inner rebel part in each of us, the one we mostly lock away. This is a record that feels intimate yet universal. 

It's in tracks like "Brave" that this pent-up ferocious aspect really comes to mind. This is definitely an emotional opening to the album. Filled with punk bass rhythms, shoegaze guitars, and angry metal drums, it finds its release through melodic ethereal singing. She sounds angry and disenchanted, yet hopeful and even grateful at times. This outcome is artistically and emotionally rare. A bit like acting and putting 4 intentions into one expression alone, with the only difference that she is definitely not acting. 

"Victoria" is the track that defines the tone of this album, which is emblematically less frenetic than its predecessors. Its slower general tempo really benefited the song writing, the detailed progressions, and gave us enough pauses and time to assimilate the complicated mix of emotions and styles being thrown at us. 

Yet, they haven't lost their roots. "Liar", the queen track of this album for me, definitely showcases the maturity and level of compromise the band has reached between past and present/ punk and post rock. Likewise, the duo of guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden and bassist Peter Mulders gifts us with a powerful post-metal/sludge closure when it comes to "Desert Rain".

This record couldn't have had a more suited title than Unison Life. It managed to gather and evoke all those universal feelings we share as human beings. It's an album that I have proudly engraved into my memory and I will always go back to.

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