We all sometimes miss checking important boxes. And now with Roadburn immediately approaching one of those boxes obviously is talking about the thing everybody has already been talking about for months. If there is one album that felt like it brought all factions together in 2022, and which appears in a wide variety of end-of-year lists not only in the Metal and Hardcore milieu, then it must be Unison Life by the Belgian Post Hardcore trio Brutus.
And what is it that makes this band so irresistible? Basically I could copy word for word what I’ve once said not even about the direct predecessor, but about their debut album Burst: Is it Hardcore? Indie? Post Rock? Shoegaze on adrenaline? Who cares? In any case Stefanie Manaerts puts her stamp on the group with her unbridled drum drive as well as with her vocals, which are very in-your-face and Punk, yet also hover winged and high above everything else.
Brutus’ musical formula hasn’t changed, and should that ever be necessary, we’re certainly still a few releases away from that. Because at the moment the band only needs to do what they are very good at – and like here just do it a couple of gears better than on the previous album.
Without wanting to belittle the undoubtedly essential part of the aggressively grooving bass and excellent guitar riffs and leads; the secret weapon of course remains the singer/drummer, whose playing and voice form a unit charged with raw emotional energy in such a way that one has the impression that at all times the entire sound of Brutus is a direct manifestation of her anger, fear, desperation, longing and euphoria.
And if that approach is fraught with its own pitfalls and clichés, then Brutus avoid those entirely. This band simply sparkles with an unembellished authenticity that the popular guitar music sector (and the productions from this era) unfortunately often lack. Emotional and powerful, original but super accessible. So no, I can’t think of any argument why we shouldn’t all add this work to our music collections. The fact that the handwriting seen in the booklet of the vinyl version is a badly illegible claw doesn’t count!
And if you’re getting your first taste of Unison Life from the official music videos: Yes, they’re all good. But impressively Brutus don’t need to shoot up the most outstanding highlights for their promotion. No, even on the album itself many of those can wait until the downright perversely great B-side. I mean, listen to tracks like “Chainlife”, “Dreamlife” or “Desert Rain” and tell me, I’m slobbering nonsense! Well then? You see, I said it.