Reviews

BIG|BRAVE, A Gaze Among Them (Southern Lord, 2019)

Since releasing their second LP, Au De La, and first for Southern Lord; BIG|BRAVE has been a welcome addition to the artists who have helped expand my definition of what I understand to be "heavy" music.

With their latest record, A Gaze Among Them, this is all the more true and remarkable. As I'm writing this, I'm listening to the final track "Sibling" for roughly the fourth time this week; even though I've been spending focused time with this record, my attention span and the conditions have changed how I interact with the music.

There are times when records and music are necessarily immediate in their impact, a characteristic that is certainly most noted for hardcore/punk bands. Often, I think, bands within the metal genre and especially those that have a more experimental or varied perspective like that of BIG|BRAVE are believed to require more time. A Gaze Among Them as a whole record instantly pulled me in from the first listen. Being a long time listener of all heavy music, I'm fairly accustomed an aural assault.

BIG|BRAVE somehow manages to align perspectives that pull from minimalistic techniques of musicianship as well as an understanding of the fierceness and heft of sound, utilized in a way that is consuming without being overwhelming. 

Simply put, the trio of musicians that comprise BIG|BRAVE isn't afraid to show that light can be found in the midst of dark and intense music. This isn't to say or imply that other artists are distinctly afraid, but I can't say I've encountered a band that does it so well and captivatingly. The fact that even Robin Wattie's vocals not only cut through the guitars but also have more than enough texture to them to be an instrument all their own, gives a presence not always found in heavy music; I'm actually reminded more of vocalists like that of Björk or Tanya Tagaq.

Robin Wattie (vocals, electric guitar, guitar amp, bass amp), Mathieu Ball (electric guitar, guitar amps), and Loel Campbell (drums) recorded A Gaze Among Them at Machine with Magnets in Pawtucket, RI with Seth Manchester, who also contributed synths and Theirry Amar of Godspeed! You Black Emperor/Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra provided contrabass. BIG|BRAVE is touring in Europe currently with Australian band, My Disco and also has North American dates booked with Planning for Burial, Primitive Man, and Dreadnought.

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