Big Brave Find Their 'Vital' Heavy Voice
Published Apr 20, 2021Big Brave are consistently in a state of self-discovery. Since the release of their second record, 2015's Au De La, the band has pushed the concept of a three-piece rock band further from the norm. Vital, the band's latest offering, has fully abandoned normal song structures and distilled them into concise drone metal bursts. Vital takes a lot of risks that pay off immensely.
Unlike many of their drone music peers, Big Brave pride themselves on being very succinct when creating their soundscapes. Many of Vital's climactic moments are fairly unconventional in heavy music, and yet make for exceptional emotional resolutions. "Half Breed" sonically builds towards a whispering vocal outro that chillingly dissolves into "Wited, Still and All...." Moments like these are heavier and darker than what most metal bands pull off using walls of distortion.
All of the instrumentation works to highlight Robin Wattie's voice, and lyrically, Vital is the most profound in Big Brave's catalogue. According to the band, the album explores the weight of race and gender, endurance and navigating other people's behaviors, observation and protest. Wattie's voice is the focal point of the album, hauntingly drifting over chimes and bells in "Wited, Still and All" and cutting through the noise on "Of This Ilk."
Vital has riffs, too. "Of This Ilk" is built on a foundation of bludgeoning sludge, while the album-closing title track is the most metal-leaning song in Big Brave's catalogue as waves of distortion, feedback, and bell sounds engulf the song's most cathartic moments. Even though there are few distinct chord progressions throughout the entire record, Big Brave are able to express so much using recurring sounds throughout the record.
Vital is a culmination of Big Brave's dedication to find their unique voice in the realm of heavy music. Big Brave are able to achieve so much using so little. Through loud and quiet dynamics, and incorporating minimalism, Big Brave's Vital is one of the most impactful records in the band's catalogue. (Southern Lord)