Coming from the ever-impressive UNFD label is the debut effort from The Brave. ‘Epoch’ aims to be their defining moment; a statement of purpose. It leaves them with big expectations to fill, which they don’t quite match. Their atmospheric brand of metalcore does prove to be effective yet sits firmly amongst the various bands UNFD has been home to in recent years.
‘Searchlights’ kicks off the album in a bold manner with its huge, crunching guitars, subtle synth keys and a cathartic-yet-simple chorus line of “when will I see you again? I’m searching for you in the dark in the dark night sky”. Inspired by the passing of vocalist Nathan Toussaint’s cousin, Ryan, it opens the album on a personal note that is effective.
The Brave’s downfall comes in the form of tracks such as ’Break Free’, ‘Undone’ and ‘Eclipse’. Although they keep up the momentum with a mosh-worthy quality. The use of metallic guitars and raw, aggressive vocals complimented by a soaring anthemic chorus has been done countless times. After several listens, the first half of ‘Epoch’ moulds into one.
The ballad-driven ‘1945’ breaks up the pace with its slick harmonies and its heartfelt lyrics (“I’ll see you soon my dear”) serving as an emotional release, even if the songwriting is somewhat sickly. ‘Escape’ and ‘Slipping Away’ sees the heavy influence of a certain Sheffield band creep in, as pounding drums and a heavy bass line tries to dominate amongst soaring choruses. Whilst the latter makes use of an accompanying child choir.
What The Brave offer on ‘Epoch’ is good but is far from being great. Although their songwriting is spirited, it’s delivered in an all too familiar metalcore skin. One that is neatly produced and is made to highlight Toussaint’s ordinary vocals. As a result, the substance of the songs gets lost amongst The Brave’s expected stylistic output. If they can deliver something with more originality in future, than The Brave have potential.
‘Epoch’ by The Brave is out now on UNFD.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)