Big Brave - A Gaze Among Them review


19 users:
Band: Big Brave
Album: A Gaze Among Them
Release date: May 2019

01. Muted Shifting Of Space
02. Holding Pattern
03. Body Individual
04. This Deafening Verity
05. Sibling

So there's this brand of droning post-rock that I really love. A sort of minimalist approach that just makes everything more powerful. It worked with Swans. It worked with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It works with Big Brave.

Big Brave, or rather BIG|BRAVE, are a Canadian trio who make music that is in some way metal. Just like bands I just mentioned, they are on the heavier and larger-than-life side of post-rock and have loads of drone metal and slowcore and noise rock and sludge metal infusions. However, compared to those, Big Brave are on the even heavier side of the spectrum, not enough for categorization as a metal band to be clearly in their favor, but heavy enough for it to feel better the louder you play it. Kinda like Sunn O))), but with more things going on.

The instrumentals are pretty monotonous, so the comparisons to Sunn O))) aren't completely unearned, but rather than stretching out a guitar note to immense lengths, they play the same hypnotizing fuzzy riff with seismic drumming to create a trance-like state.The riffs never feel copy-pasted, with always a bit of change in either the drumming or the guitars, and the effect is there. And it wouldn't be as strong if it was purely instrumental, but they manage to hold their own in the bits where vocals take a step back for a while. However, the strength of the album is how well the monotonous instrumentals and the passionate vocals fit together.

Sunn O)))'s collaboration with Scott Walker felt weird because the monotonous instrumental and the passionate vocals felt at odds with one another. Even more jarring would be Metallica's one with Lou Reed. But here it feels more like Swans' albums with Jarboe, where her passionate vocals were the driving force of a lot of songs. And other than the vocals, it is Swans I am most reminded of, mostly of their post-reunion albums that casually hit two hours in runtime. A Gaze Among Them doesn't take it that far, in fact it doesn't even hit the forty minute mark, but the building blocks are there. If A Gaze Among Them was two hours long, it would be tedious and quite uncalled for, but it still wouldn't be boring, given that the album's diversity would be increased in direct proportion. The whole thing is just so well textured, as well as it having some guest contributions in the form of contrabass from Thierry Amar (of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and synths from Seth Manchester.

And with such a colorful cover art, there are even more similarities to recent heavy but not really really metal stuff like Sunbather, Rheia or, going back to a previous comparison, Life Metal. And like Life Metal, there is a slight sense of livelihood in spite of darkness, or at least as lively as drone music can feel, which is admittedly not a lot. A Gaze Among Them is dark, but it's not apocalyptic or dystopic or whatever. It's crushing and uplifting in a weird way. Even the crushing The Body-like moments feel dreamy. And while people who can't tolerate drone will likely find this boring as well, there's probably more here to be appreciated by outsiders than on most drone albums, and its short runtime should make it that much more digestible. Not to mention the amazing production.

So it's heavy. It's not really metal. It sounds great. It's on Southern Lord. It's short but effective. The vocals performance is exceptional. The guitars are down-tuned and fuzzy. The drums are seismic. You can actually hear the bass. You can stream it right here. What other reason do you need?


Written on 18.05.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 22 users
21.05.2019 - 03:03
Kinda like Sunn O))), but with more things going on.

Not many more things going on but enough for me to prefer this to Sunn O))). The opening track and "Holding Pattern" are very good and the vocals are great. "Sibling"'s repetition gets on my nerves though and makes me want to bang my head against the wall to its rhythm.
21.05.2019 - 09:55
Written by nikarg on 21.05.2019 at 03:03

"Sibling"'s repetition gets on my nerves though and makes me want to bang my head against the wall to its rhythm.

You're saying it like it's a bad thing
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

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