Montreal, QC’s BIG|BRAVE have been crafting their droning doom blend since their inception Poised with weapons at the ready, they have always put forth an insurmountable mass with all of their albums. Meandering, aggressive, and sharp, their new album, nature morte, sees them at their most forward and abrasive.
Recorded with Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, nature morte is full of massive guitars, harsh swells of feedback, and cavernous drum work. The characteristics of which put the slightest chip in BIG|BRAVE’s traditional sense of grace. Beginning with what almost feels like the middle of a song, the record immediately catapults you into the thick of it. Drenched in gravelly distortion and fuzz, you are propelled through the remaining 40 minutes of the record.
It is forward, always moving and shifting. We see new range from their vocalist and guitarist, Robin Wattie, as she steps ever-so-slightly away from her belting vocals in favor of a more fervent, almost raspy delivery. Brimming with venom, despair, and wrath unlike we have seen before from the trio. Tales of woe and rage spun from the group as you venture through fables and stories that feel so personal yet relatable.
Mat Ball’s guitar work definitely feels heightened by the work done on his solo album from 2022, Amplified Guitar. The things that are carried over are a stunning addition to an already intimidating repertoire of skill. Using ambient techniques and intricate guitar sounds that are almost more about the technology and equipment within than the actual playing creates an immersive atmosphere for these noisy moments. Additionally, with the amount of hums, buzzing, and feed backing going on between both guitarists, the moments where the band falls into true silence feel abyssal and haunting.
The drumwork of Tasy Hudson is also stunning. The most characteristic part of this new menacing sound for the group is the work behind the percussion. It is the most experimental work from Tasy yet and also feels like the most intricate development in playing overall for the group. Balancing masterful sparseness during quiet moments and experimenting with almost chamber-style ornamentation on noisier parts is breathtaking. The different recording techniques for drum parts are evident and incredibly impactful.
Overall, nature morte is a beautiful, enthralling, and devastating addition to BIG|BRAVE’s spectacular catalog. With a volatile, dreadful atmosphere, the trio master anchoring in a storm, with a clear focus on forward movement. At times falling apart, at times stitching it together, nature morte is a cacophonous wonder.
Nature morte is out today via Thrill Jockey, and you can find it here. Check out my favorite track from the album, “the fable of subjugation,” below. You can also find all their upcoming Mexican, European, and North American tour dates here.