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Brave - 'Lost In Retrospect' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/09/6a/97/144_BraveLostRetrospect_1267026457.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     February 24, 2010    
 
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Compilation from the female fronted prog-rockers.

 

This album is a very highly recommended overview of the 12 year recording history of a band from Virginia, of whom, I’m pretty sure, many of you reading this will have been previously unaware. To immediately focus upon what the band is now all about, the following quote from their Myspace page immediately gets to the point: “Brave is a progressive rock/metal band with female vocals and violins”.

The band, the nucleus of which comprises vocalist Michelle Loose and her guitarist brother Scott, along with drummer Trevor Schrotz, changed their name from Arise From Thorns in 2000, having already released two albums – a self-titled debut in 1997 and ‘Before An Audience Of Stars’ in 1999, and this present release treats us to two tracks from each of these. ‘To Dance By Moonlight’ and ‘Remember The Stars’ from the eponymous debut showcase a slightly diffident vocalist, but the quality of the songs (especially the latter) is undeniable and by the time of the sophomore release, all the necessary ingredients for future success seemed to be in place. ‘Surrender’ and ‘Bluer Skies’ from this album are absolutely gorgeous songs and showcase a certain balance between acoustic beauty and electric vibrancy that pretty much sums up what has become “Brave music”!

Having metamorphosed into Brave, the first release was the ‘Waist Deep In Dark Waters’ EP in 2001, from which we get ‘Dark Waters’ and bugger me what a fabulous song this is: I played it three times consecutively when I reached it! It’s a tad more gutsy and progressive than the AFT stuff, and Michelle Loose’s voice is now fully in command, soaring and floating over mesmerising instrumentation. ‘Searching For The Sun’ released in 2002 was Brave’s first album, and one that I have had on my ‘would like to have’ list ever since I read a captivating review back then. Well, I now have four tracks from it on this compilation and they are a diverse bunch. ‘Trapped Inside’ is a brooding monster with Scott Loose sounding like a demented soul on guitar and contrasting with the gentle contemplative ‘Candle In The Dark’ that follows. ‘Surrender’ is a short, haunting instrumental whilst ‘Before Nightfall’ is a dreamy ballad. All are handled equally impressively.

Two tracks from the 2004 EP ‘Passages’ are included: the title track (here, rounding off the compilation) and ‘Words’. The arrival of Ben Kelly on bass and Suvo Sur on violin make a distinctive difference, and now (and also on the three tracks from last year’s release ‘Monuments’ that open this album) there is a harder, and much more ‘progressive’ sound and stylings, but one that remains utterly irresistible! May I suggest to you Kansas meets Karnataka?

The three tracks from 2008’s ‘Monuments’ (‘Something To This’, ‘Driven’ and ‘Hold On’) demonstrate a further development in Brave’s music: and a distinct coming of age is evident in the much heavier, more metallic but still wonderfully melodic arrangements. If this band were based in Europe, I am sure they would be making considerable waves by now.

If you are partial to melodic rock/metal with female vocals, then I can but very strongly urge you to seek out this overview of the development of Brave. It reveals an interesting journey, with an impressive selection of songs at each stage, tremendous musicianship and with a metallic edge now in place.

Paul Jerome Smith

 

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