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HASSLE RECORDS

Brutus

Unison Life

    When times are tough, or you’re feeling worn down, you start longing for a life of total peace. A life where there are no fights, arguments or lies; where there is no such thing as disappointment and your actions have no consequences. Some might call it a “fantasy world”. Genre-jumping Belgian trio Brutus call it the “Unison Life” – a phrase that titles their third studio album. Unison Life is about all the stuff that wears you down in the first place. It’s the ugliness, the pain, and the acts of bravery that get you through it all. Beginning with a portrait of contentment and unravelling from there, the album goes into battle and asks what really counts. In their own words: “Is this Unison Life a hoax? Or a quest?”

    Since their formation in 2014, Brutus have made a name for themselves with their restless, emotionally raw rock that traverses the landscape of metal, punk, post-hardcore and beyond – often in the same song. The three members first met in their hometown of Leuven, where they cut their teeth playing in different local bands. Their influences are wide and varied. Drummer/vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts – who grew up above a music shop run by her family – is into a variety of genres from post-metal to electronic music. Bassist Peter Mulders is more of a punk guy, while guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden is into country and more melodic rock. Their diverse tastes come together through Brutus to create a sound that’s as heavy as it is unexpected, full of beauty and surprises.


    TRACK LISTING

    A1 Miles Away
    A2 Brave
    A3 Victoria
    A4 What Have We Done
    A5 Dust
    B1 Liar
    B2 Chainlife
    B3 Storm
    B4 Dreamlife
    B5 Desert Rain



    Madmess

    Rebirth

      Madmess are a band who know the value of doing things the hard way. Having established themselves among the outliers of Porto’s fertile, close-knit underground music scene, by 2017 it was clear that they had the potential to go much, much further. London, and its bigger, more merciless leftfield circuit beckoned. In a city full to the brim with bold and brilliant bands, the bar was significantly raised. Risks were many, but so too were opportunities.

      Now, after years of slog – gruelling gigs, punishing recording sessions, not to mention a momentum-sapping pandemic – bassist Vasco Vasconcelos, drummer Luis Moura and guitarist Ricardo Sampaio, have emerged the other side with Rebirth, a debut album of rare intensity, released via Hassle Records. Their stripes earned, their teeth well and truly cut, it’s a record worthy of all that hard work, crushing riffs colliding with sweeping waves of overwhelming noise for a listen both beautiful and brutal.

      As the pandemic eased in late 2020, at least temporarily, the band found time to escape to Foel Studios in the Welsh countryside, formerly used by iconic psych rock forebears Amon Düül and Hawkwind among others, to start work on their new LP. They were intent to build on the solid foundations they’d set with their EP the previous year. “We tried to do something more complete, more punchy,” says Sampaio. The sessions ended up being more intense than they were anticipating – the band record everything live, and when you’re playing the kind of complex epics that populate Rebirth there’s not much margin for error. “The shortest track is eight minutes, and they’re almost all more than 10,” says Sampaio with a wince. “The songs on this album are really complex, there were some stressful times, some harsh moments, but we managed to get through it.”


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: A hefty collection of grooving guitar riffs and fluid time signatures, at once both incendiary and brain-meltingly loose, Madmess are a band who know how to construct a song. Epic, hugely inventive and wonderfully deep.

      TRACK LISTING

      Side A
      Albatross
      Mind Collapse

      Side B
      1. Rebirth
      2. Shape Shifter
      3. Stargazer


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