The Browning maintain an apparent close hold on their craft these days. Some have described the band as “electronicore,” but on Geist, their 2018 full length, they prove competent and capable and beyond a gimmick. They’re a force to be reckoned with, essentially.
Their music proves both heavy and catchy to simplify the equation here. Each side carries a broad, substantive weight. The band weaves in and out of huge, sweeping sound and dynamic electronic work. When they want to utilize the latter style, they jump all the way in, and the beats are poised to get in your head and stay there. Geist packs music to both dance and bang your head to, a bonus for those of you who enjoyed dancing to wildly heavy music.
The band ties their work together with a driving, biting edge. They’re truly, actually harsh through the cacophony of sound and style they present. No, they’re not “rah, rah, tough guy,” but there’s always going to be someone out there pounding away at their keyboard about how horrible any given art sounds, so who cares.
The Browning get to the point, dealing out their blast beats as much as they present glitched-out material. They’ve liberated themselves from possible past hindrances, blasting full speed ahead on their newest material in a manner that’s refreshing both for its artistic spirit and on the merits of the music itself. Put more simply, the music is fun. While the work remains intelligent, too, Geist also proves fun. There’s something in here for a heavy music fan to dig into: just listen.
Sometimes it feels like bands attempting something along these general lines are afraid to go “over the edge” and see their artistic ambition to fruition, not The Browning on Geist, though. Their music proves both dynamic and cutting. There’s a dark, dour sense overlying the work because of the interplay that’s a welcome addition. The back and forth and weave crafts a feeling of unease that wouldn’t be there to contribute to the final picture of the band’s presentation if they’d played it “safe.” There’s a mature finality and polish to their presentation.