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Brave: Monuments

There seems to be a plethora of female fronted rock bands right now. So it is refreshing when one comes along that has something different to offer. Brave is a 6 piece band that hails from the nation's capitol of Washington D.C. With a progressive spirit and metal as their backbone, they have blazed into territory that is musically diverse and yet still retains the elements of some of the most influential bands in history.

The first thing to hit you is the melancholy voice of lead singer Michelle Loose. With a delivery that makes me think of the old group Renaissance fronted by the multi-octave vocals of Annie Haslam. Now take those vocals, put in a duel heavy metal guitar attack and then to top it off, add a violin similar to the group Kansas. There you have Brave.

The band captures a certain regal quality with its varied approach as they can take you from the very heavy rocking opening song "Hold On" to the stunning, stark beauty of the desolate sounding Here. Each song on the album has a charm all its own that is best defined by the subject matter. Yes this is an example of intelligent lyrics that are a treat for the mind as much as the music is a pure delight to the ears.

My metal side is thoroughly sated by the thrashing guitars of Scott Loose and Matt Kozar. They can be as heavy as any progressive band when it is called for but when the music turns more melodic, they are there also, providing a sometimes tranquil, sometimes beautiful touch. They never stray too far from the heavy roots from which they came.

The heart and soul of this band is the ability to make a bombastic quality sound that overpowers you with its epic style and force. Out of this swell of music comes this lush voice that is the eye of the storm that rages all around her. In songs like the instrumental To Remain Unseen and Stronger the music is some of the richest and most elegant sounding I have heard in quite some time. But along with this element there is the underlying current of pure metal that is let loose at the proper time to completely overwhelm you with its raw power.

This band is really Beauty and the Beast. With the gorgeous vocals of Michelle Loose swirling all around you, the beast of a band behind her, hits you like a ton of bricks. The combination is something to behold.

Track Listing:
1. Hold On
2. Hero
3. Hurt
4. Forgiveness
5. To Remain Unseen
6. Sleepless
7. Without You
8. Here
9. Sooner Or Later
10. Something To This
11. Driven
12. Stronger

Added: July 29th 2009
Reviewer: Scott Ward
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 3255
Language: english

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Brave: Monuments
Posted by Terry Connolly, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-07-29 11:40:26
My Score:

From the first note of Monuments, Brave serves notice that they are no ordinary progressive rock band. Their outstanding female vocalist Michelle Loose belts out her vocals with astonishing range and power to match the prog/metal sound of the band. I find comparisons to Annie Halsam fronting Kansas to be very close to what Brave presents, yet I noticed a Celtic feel to the music that mark Brave has perhaps something uniquely different entirely.

Haunting, evocative, mystical, triumphant and majestic are just some of the adjectives that came to mind listening to Monuments. The classical influence is there for sure, I even noticed a Moody Blues feel through parts of the album, but the heavy riffing and rocking craved by metal rockers like myself are never far away. The band certainly has an instinctive feel for alternating moments of darkness contrasting with brighter moments. Michelle Loose's voice is the clear highlight for me here, her voice shines through the light parts and heavy parts equally, always keeping the sound of Brave focused and honed.

The band displays numerous metallic power chops along with plenty of progressive touches. The violinist/keyboardist provides an excellent melodic counterpoint to compliment Michelle's lovely vocals. Yet with two guitar players and a super tight drum and bass combo delivering rock riffs, headbanging moments are never far away. This is an album that rewards additional listens, there are layers of complexity in Brave's music that are a delight to discover.

This album deserves high praise and high volume, and if their live show is anything like the qualities they have displayed so well on Monuments, mark me down for a front row seat. These 'guys' rock, they have tons of talent and unique abilities. I enjoyed the expansive musical atmosphere expressed by this band, it is both inspiring and positive. Brave has created some 'Monuments' indeed on the songs on this album, and they've also created a new fan in me.

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