Live Concert Photography: BRUTUS with Planning for Burial at Saint Vitus Bar 11/13/19
Throughout the course of last year, I managed to write a bit about the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS. With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the highly acclaimed Belgian act — Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) — quickly developed a national and international presence with a sound shaped by necessity: Mannaerts eventually took up vocal duties because no one else would. Interestingly, since their debut effort’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay and labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and others. They’ve also played sets across the major European Union heavy music festivals. Adding to a rapidly growing profile. Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has proudly championed the band.
Now, as you may recall, their Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest was released last year through Sargent House Records. The album finds the band making a concerted effort to write tighter songs with an expanded sound while Mannaerts boldly (and fully) embarking her dual roles as a vocalist and drummer. Thematically speaking, the material focused on the path the trio have taken together that have led to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream. As a result, the material is deeply introspective with the members of the band considering the individual and group choices they’ve made to get where they are now — and the impact those choices have had on their loved ones and those who they’ve had to leave behind. In some way, it captures the bleak and raw ache of people who taking stock of themselves and their lives — alone. Naturally, that creates an uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue the forward progression of a burgeoning career and the desire to maintain and cherish the connections of home.
The members of the Belgian trio closed out 2019 with their first ever Stateside headlining tour, which included a November stop at Saint Vitus Bar. The set was primarily centered around their impressive sophomore set, so of course we heard standout album singles like “War,” “Cemetery,” “Django,” and “Sugar Dragon” all of which are simultaneously intimate and introspective and explosively cathartic while meshing painterly and gorgeous shoegaze with forceful, pummeling metal. Opening the night was Planning for Burial, the solo recording project of Wilkes-Barre, PA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Thom Wasluck.
Thom Wasluck is a Wilkes-Barre, PA-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist — and the creative mastermind behind the solo recording project Planning for Burial. Beginning his carer playing in a number of local bands, Wasluck initially started a solo career as Burial back in 2005, eventually releasing his solo debut, 2009’s critically applauded Leaving, which helped to establish the project’s sound — one that draws from and filters shoegaze, slowcore, post-metal, doom metal, ambient music and goth in what has been dubbed as both gloomglaze and experimental metal. Leaving was re-released through Enemies List Home Recordings in 2010. And following the re-release of his debut, Wasluck recorded a series of tapes, EPs and splits across a wide variety of media from cassette tapes, floppy disks and more — including, his sophomore album, 2016’s Desideratum through The Flenser. 2016 saw the release of the “As a Lover” single through The Native Sound. Since the release of that single, Wasluck has opened for the likes of the aforementioned Chelsea Wolfe, Have a Nice Life and Deafheaven among others.