Big Brave of Montreal is a seamless triad. Their latest album, Au De La, released September 18 2015 by Southern Lord Records, offers increasingly succinct hailstorms. Their sound is curt, its speech laconic, and its actors are as possessed as they are bewitching.
A performance by Big Brave entails complete immersion. On October 5th, an audience at Turbo Haus was illuminated by a pair of headlights nested on stage. From the outset we were enraptured by crystalline turmoil, in an encounter both agitating and inclusive. The sharp silk voice of Robin Wattie escalated to a finely pitched loss of control. To this was added the ingenious guitar work of Mathieu Bernard Ball punctuated with abrupt breaks through constant feedback, and through the spinal unease crafted by the stark drumming of Louis-Alexandre Beauregard.
Big Brave shared the stage with Spectral Wound and USA out of Vietnam. This makes sense as the first two share a certain rage, and all three share a propensity for musical complexity and viewer-engrossment. First to perform was Spectral Wound, delivering a screaming metal set of intricate and compelling verse. Their act was intense and ceaseless, the melody still comprehensible and digestible to viewers who, like myself, haven’t yet dove into metal troves (but which I will explore immediately). Their debut album Terra Nullius, 2015 (Latin for No Man’s Land) is a fine addition to metal cannons. When Big Brave followed, the audience was revved up with active energy, and the contrast better defined both. Closing the set was the quintet USA out of Vietnam, whose multi instrumental/vocal soundscapes built layers of psychedelic, cosmos-breaching sound, which provided a transition from the melancholy drive of Big Brave. Someone did some very clever booking.
As before, the technical prowess of Big Brave has built a character of bitter honey. Every note is intentioned, and this very meditated choice somehow strengthens the potent mood of unease. We saw pauses of taboo length successfully suspend and plummet listeners into subsequently elongated, echoing chants – into a collective void. Make no mistake, this is no dull place to be. There is something fundamentally addictive about this story that is being relayed. It’s a story one knows, and that of which one had forgotten the magnitude of. The congregation stood absorbed: the viewers by perfectly controlled and articulated thrashing, the performers by this genuine and strenuous gift. We melded to the vulnerable jolt, to the essential current, to the indulgence made by a very talented group.
Big Brave tours the States this October, and the EU and UK come November.
Listen to And As The Waters Go from Au De La here: http://www.bigbrave.ca/listen/