Brutus‘ attention-grabbing debut, ‘Burst’, saw the Belgian trio’s reputation grow momentously. Paired with an equally exhilarating live show, their return has been eagerly anticipated.
Their second outing, ‘NEST’, is considerably a case of “more of the same” yet its executed in the best possible way. They’ve taken the energy showcased previously and combined it with their touring experience life, to deliver another thrilling album.
Vocalist/drummer Stefanie Mannaerts, guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden and bassist Peter Mulders provide a riveting, and at times, an expansive display. It ranges from relentlessly steamrolling in with no remorse on songs such as ‘Django’ and ‘Carry’, to slamming on the brakes to supply harmonious, reflective moments, sometimes in the same song (see ‘Techno’).
As a unit, Brutus sound bigger, more solid and aren’t afraid to take chances. Take ‘Space’ for example, which hones in on Mulders’ plucky bass work. While Vanhoegaerden’s towering guitar lines thrive throughout before Mannaerts’ battering drumming brings things back down to earth. Considerably, Mannaerts is the one who has benefitted the most from life on the road, with her tight performance on the drums on par with her vocal work. Just listen to the devastation she delivers on ‘Horde V’.
Her duel responsibilities are performed with pure emotion. On ‘Cemetery’, her hatred and bitterness about “that girl” who’s “a fucking wreck” is matched by pounding snares and a thundering bassline. Whereas as every hit on tracks like ‘Carry’ and ‘Blind’ amplifies the emotion in her voice.
Album centrepiece, ‘War’, is Brutus at their most compelling. Picked guitar notes and Mannaerts’ haunting vocals gradually gives way to heavy guitars and a rumbling bass with astonishing effect. It doesn’t get matched until ‘Sugar Dragon’ arrives. At nearly eight minutes long, the captivating closer illustrates Brutus‘ positives perfectly; sharp guitars, harmonious vocals, domineering drums, and a gripping bass.
Although there are similarities between both ‘Burst’ and ‘NEST’, Brutus‘ second album is even more invigorating. It takes you on a thrilling, heart-pounding journey that you can’t get enough of.
‘Nest’ by Brutus is released on 29th March on Hassle Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)