OR   Search for Artist/Title    Advanced Search
you are not logged in...  [login] 
All Reviews    Edit This Review     
Review: 'BIG | BRAVE'

-  Label: 'Southern Lord'
-  Genre: 'Post-Rock' -  Release Date: '15th September 2017'

Our Rating:
Epic comes in many shapes and sizes, but on ‘Ardour’, BIG | BRAVE bring epic from every angle. The album contains but three tracks: the shortest is over 11 and a half minutes long. At the core of the sound are heavy, slow rhythms marking repetitive structures, in the same broad sphere as ‘Greed’ era Swans, and Godflesh played at half-speed.

It begins with an interminable drone of feedback, before the thunderous percussion crashes in, and ‘Sound’ builds its magnificent structure and slow, deliberate and vaguely disjointed groove. Robin Wattie’s voice is a complete contrast, somewhere between Chelsea Wolf and Alison Shaw of Cranes. It’s at once disarming and deranged, the words coming in short, indecipherable bursts that aren’t quite squeaks, but spitting barks. It’s the fact the dirging grind doesn’t move forward but instead grows in intensity simply through its persistence as the guitars shift toward monolithic powerchords worthy of Sunn O))) snd which sustain for an eternity.

The slow, sedate ‘Lull’ is altogether less punishing, forging a shoegazey atmosphere that’s almost ethereal, but slowed to 20 BPM. It’s all about the atmosphere; it’s all about the understated force. There’s a certain tranquillity, but there are tidal waves beneath the glacial surface.

The final track, ‘Borer’ is nothing short of immense: a single note sounding out repeatedly into the air, over expanses of land and sea. Wattie sounds desperate, anguished, and lost amidst the rising tempest of sound which crashes about her. It’s so slow, heavy yet graceful that it’s easy to lose any sense of time, place, or compositional markers over the quarter of an hour it spans: structurally, it simply rolls. Reducing at the mid-point to a single, sonorous note, repeated, the listener feels the sense of stranded isolation articulated in the vocal delivery. Gradually, it builds once more toward the towering sound which washes out toward the close.

These aren’t conventionally structured, ‘verse /chorus’ songs with hooks, breakdowns, middle eights. But they are still considered compositions, worked intuitively to evolve within a longform framework, building and lowering tension and forging a rich and sometimes dense atmosphere. The result is close to transcendental, and is without question elevating, immersive, and beyond mere music. ‘Ardor’ is something special.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

[Show all reviews for this Artist]

READERS COMMENTS    10 comments still available (max 10)    [Click here to add your own comments]

There are currently no comments...

BIG | BRAVE - Ardor