Leeds quintet, Brunel, blend genres with ease to bring the concepts of ‘progression’ and ‘heavy’ together in debut Happen. Smarten up, you’re about to meet your new underground music heroes…
The modern music industry has a lot to answer. Apple music, Spotify, the endless manufacturing of artists, Nicki Minaj, that bloke who wrote What does the fox say? I could go on. Unknown to most, the contemporary machine is also responsible for the demise of metalcore outfit The Ocean Between Us. Between dodgy contracts and the general bullshit of a soulless corporation, TOBU found themselves in a desperate state. “We basically got fucked over” frontman Judd Wrighton would tell me on a night out (he won’t remember but he did say that). The five-piece, who had taken the local scene by storm, were forced to start again. But a phoenix will always rise from ashes and for Wrighton and co, that phoenix was Brunel.
Heavy music tends to fall way too neatly into pre-categorised genres these days, each with its own repetitive features. The riffs are the same, the vocals, is it really metalcore if you can’t spell out the tab with just 0’s? Heavy is becoming a euphemism for cliché and it’s a relief to hear Brunel’s own personal vision of ‘heavy’ fit into several genres at once. Fusing crushing hardcore riffs, the melodic charge of a rock ballad and vocals both raw and emotional in equal parts, Happen is truly a massive move towards progression. One that many bands have failed to make in decade long careers.
Opener Vann ‘24’ throws listeners into an immediate whirlwind of anger and swirling riffs. The slam of hardcore beats leads into a controlled flow of soaring melody that compliments Brunel with an immediate atmosphere. This is a song of polarising feelings, of anger, of truth, of accomplishment and it kicks off an EP that only gets better. Off Peak plays on the same atmospheric grandeur but manages to pack that extra punch. It’s heavier, darker and altogether more enticing, a jaunty, metal induced jumble of crunching breakdowns and raucous clean vocals.
On the other hand, Happen also demonstrates Brunel’s apt musical ability with closing song Clutter, a beautifully crafted hard-rock symphony. If proof was needed that metal isn’t just about flapping at a down-tuned top string, then this is it. A floating composition of high pitched riffs and emotive cleans, it represents another aspect that this outfit can add to a very impressive musical resume.
The crowning glory of this debut, however, comes in the form of the snarling, growling single Worth. It’s hard to quite put your finger on why it’s such a stunning track; simply put it has ‘it’. That catchy edge, that raw attractiveness, the chorus that just hits the spot right, whatever ‘it’ is, Worth got it in abundance. ‘Running free running free til you find yourself in a hole too deep…’, it’s a line that deserves to be screamed back at this band as they perform in front of sell-out crowds. With this EP, Brunel could be well on the way to achieving that dream.
The Lowdown: Heavy music by northerners.
Top Track: Worth
For Fans Of: The Ocean Between Us (R.I.P), Heart In Hand, Alexisonfire.
Make sure you purchase Brunel’s EP here.