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Brume - Rooster Award winner

by Ofer Mashiach at 18 August 2017, 5:47 PM

I became familiar with San Francisco's, BRUME, about two years ago when I came across their debut EP, "Donkey", on Bandcamp. I developed a so-called fetish for female-fronted Doom Metal, and it so happened that they rose to the occasion and I was glad to recognize them as a rising force in that scene. There's something about such bands with their sweet melancholic female vocals with heavy riffs in the background that seems to work well, and BRUME definitely delivers.

Early 2017 saw the announcement of the debut full-length of BRUME titled, "Rooster", which was officially released in April. The album features six fresh and well-orchestrated tracks and spans 51 satisfying minutes of down-tuned goodies. I would describe their sound as a less fuzzy, but well-controlled version of their hometown legends, ACID KING. The atmosphere is tense and thick; Susie's immaculate vocal performance is very emotional. I also think that the beautiful artwork reflects what's under the cover.

For the most part, the music is sluggish with rather droning riffs that feel like an avalanche of anvils. There's nearly no guitars solos, but those that are there are somewhat bluesy and gloomy. There is considerable interplay between the loud and gentle parts. "Grit and Pearls" opens this album with a quiet lead before the other instruments joins in unison to form an earth-shaking riff. The lyrics deal with herd behavior of selecting our own hangmen, the trust we put in tyrants that feed their egos to bolster their power and fortune. The loathing in Susie's voice is delicate, but definitely there.

BRUME is a good example that less is much more, and that there's nothing that technicality can do that couldn't be achieved with good songwriting, which is exactly the case here. This alone makes this slow and entrancing music sound so right without desperate attempts at technicality to invoke interest (a lousy trend that is rampant today more than ever). The order of the tracks is very balanced and they dovetail each other naturally. The enchanting melodies of "Harold" and the mournful, echoing vocals make for a wonderfully lugubrious piece that disrupts the proper function of your synapses throughout. (Who needs chemical enhancement when you have this?)

"Call the Serpent's Bluff" is my favorite track of the album. Even though it's sluggish like the others, it has a certain groove with psychedelic tinges and a dramatic buildup that goes through several varying sections, showing all the strengths of the band. "Welter" is a short acoustic and touching interlude that is welcome for catching your breath before the epic final that is "Tradewind," which is the longest track, but nevertheless, engaging and passing in a breeze. It remains dramatic from start to finish despite dragging in a snail's pace, but never tiresome. (Did I mention the good songwriting?) I've got the feeling that the entire album could be acoustic and still achieve the desired appeal, and even retain the density and heaviness while unplugged.

This album is a must for fans for fans of the genre. It has everything you could wish for in Doom Metal and is an excellent introduction to the genre for newcomers. Buy it, you won't regret.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Grit and Pearls
2. Harold
3. Reckon
4. Call the Serpent's Bluff
5. Welter
6. Tradewind
Susie McMullan - Vocals, Bass
Jordan Perkins-Lewis - Drums
Jamie McCathie - Guitars
Record Label: Doom Stew Records


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Edited 27 March 2023

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