With the release of their full-length debut, 2017’s Burst, the Leuven, Belgium-based post-rock trio BRUTUS, comprised of Stefanie Mannaerts (drums, vocals), Stijn Vanhoegaerden (guitar) and Peter Mulders (bass) quickly received a national and international presence — and since their full-length debut’s release, they’ve toured with JOVM mainstay Chelsea Wolfe, Thrice, Russian Circles, and played the major heavy EU festivals. Adding to a growing profile, Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich has proudly championed the Belgian trio. And interestingly enough, they’ve achieved this with a sound that was initially shaped by necessity — with Mannaerts adopting vocal duties because no one else would.
The Leuven-based post-rock trio’s highly anticipated Jesse Gander-produced sophomore album Nest is slated for release later this week through Sargent House Records and the album’s material finds Mannaerts fully embracing her dual roles as vocalist and drummer and while the album’s material reveals the full range of her talents, the band has made a concerted effort to write tight songs with an expanded sound. Thematically speaking, the material focuses on the path the trio have taken together to get to the euphoric highs of achieving a lifelong dream; but there’s underlying moments of deep, introspection, in which they all consider the individual choices they’ve made to get there — and the impact those choices had on their loved ones, and those who they’ve left behind. And as a result, the material possesses a strangely uncomfortable yet necessary friction between wanting to continue their forward progression and a desire to maintain and cherish those connections to all that they love at home. But is that possible when you’ve taken such enormous risks to achieve something extraordinary. And when the things you’ve seen, done and experienced have become so different than those of your peers, can you keep that connection?
Earlier this year, I wrote about, the expansive “War,” a track that alternated between dreamy and ruminative showcase and aggressive and forceful thrash metal, with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks and even larger power chords. Possessing a painterly quality in which the song’s musical layers are much like brushstrokes adding detail and texture to the canvas, the song evokes the raw ache of isolation and the bleakness of taking stock of oneself — completely alone. “Cemetery,” Nest‘s second and single effortlessly bridged doom metal, thrash metal, shoegaze, hardcore punk and stoner rock with an arrangement featuring thunderous drumming, blistering and enormous power chords, and Mannaerts howled vocals. “Django,” Nest’s third and latest single will further cement the Belgian trio’s reputation for crafting a huge, arena rock-like sound, as the track is centered around Mannaerts thunderous drumming, Vanhoegaerden’s towing power chords and Mulder’s rumbling low end — but the song may arguably be the most concise and forceful song on the album.