Big|Brave – A Gaze Among Them

bigbraveThe band name perfectly describes this motley bunch of motherfuckers. Their music is indeed big. How big? It’s mega-fucking-lithic. It takes the thickness of drone, adds the heaviness of metal, the broadness of experimental rock, and adds Robin Wattie’s cackling, clear, and resounding cry across a Scandinavian’s acid trip. Does this mean it’s a clattering cacophony of screaming nihilistic rage? Fuck no. This is where that “brave” part comes in. Instead of math rocking and Bach-ing their way through the technical precise yet unremarkable diddly-diddly of speed guitar solos, they slow it the fuck down. On paper, it’s closer to Reich and Glass than it is to rock. Shit works as thus: Take a single motif, chord, or progression and see how far you can take it without losing its edge. The bass rumbles like it’s the voice of an angry god and holds its note. The guitar squeals feel like an existential war cry. The drums pound like the marching of a demonic army. Robin’s upper range doesn’t need to shout to be heard. It’s perfectly tuned to fit alongside this cavernous breadth.

The second track “Holding Pattern” clocks in at 10 minutes. Somehow this long song leaves you hungry for more of its thick wall of sound as it comes to a close. That’s not luck, that’s just well fucking written. It starts off with an ambient drone. Robin’s vocals sing out in heavy reverb, “You’ll take this on you. You take on the air. You’ll make this about you.” The drums beat out, the guitar’s screeching and droning undulate, and the real building fucking begins. At the point where many other songs are well into the second verse and some albums are into their third track, Big|Brave has only fucking begun. Everything is congruent. As the guitar builds, the drums pound, and the bass roars. They rise together as a single body. At the peak of these songs comes this stimulating peace, like the quiet after a car crash. Adrenaline’s on high. Colours are brighter. Sounds are cleaner. It’s like the heightened perception that comes with drinking too much coffee without that annoying diarrhea. When Robin sings out, “Body and blood” you feel like you know exactly what’s she talking about, but have no fucking clue how to explain it. The grandness of scale diverts you from the fact that this entire song has been based on a single chord. Thus: Holding Pattern. Now that’s some cool motherfucking shit.

There are people out there that believe simple means easy. Like this dude for instance:

“The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” Ernest Rutherford, considered the father of Nuclear Physics and, at times, a colossal fucking moron.

Time and again we’re shown that breaking down the simplest concepts will produce the grandest results. Big|Brave does this with fucking metal. You could rant and rave about how this isn’t true. You can believe that only the diddly-diddly tongue-shaking power-hungry coked-out guitar-chucking metal bandits can produce earth-shattering results. But, please understand that if you believe this you may end up looking like one colossal fucking moron.


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