For a band with their beginnings traceable to a Refused tribute act, Belgians Brutus plough a ferociously distinctive furrow on their debut full-length. Damn if even European tribute bands aren’t cooler than the UK’s.
March kicks off Burst in appropriately propulsive style, a pace that never really drops throughout. Frenetic riffs come in tics, which are bludgeoned to death a giant, spacey bass tone and piledriving drums. The album bursts from the starting blocks with utmost urgency, convulsive drumming both punctuating and buttressing the black metal-like screed of guitar on All Along with crushing blastbeats. The track in isolation proves vocalist/drummer Stefanie Mannaerts‘ dual duties hammer Burst home time after time, from her throaty bark on All Along to the frantic fills of the sky-reaching Not Caring.
Producer Jesse Gander – veteran of work with Japandroids and White Lung amongst others – ensures Burstnever wants for punch throughout; check out the concussive breakdown which ushers in Justice De Julia II‘s soaring second act for a case in point. Drive too is massive, brutal, and throbs like a split lip. Bird opens sounding almost balladlike, but storm clouds quickly gather and Mannaerts‘ voice bellows over Stijn Vanhoegaerden‘s lead-heavy guitars. Child closes out, furthering the dark atmosphere and post rock textures conjured throughout an album thrilling in its myriad of styles and influences.
Brutus have fans in high places, namely Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. With a summer of festival dates across Europe ahead of them – including a UK stopover at 2000 Trees – we won’t be asking “et tu, Brutus?” for long. David Hall