"Searching for the Sun" (Dark Symphonies; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The recent disbanding of Rain Fell Within makes BRAVE's position in the mid-Atlantic music scene all the more important. It's not that I mean to put any pressure on the band, but BRAVE are now at the forefront of the mid-Atlantic atmospheric metal scene. And their recent release of "Searching For The Sun" should cement their status as a band to watch out for.

"Searching For The Sun" is the boldest statement from BRAVE yet; this includes the band's debut EP and the first material recorded as Arise From Thorns. BRAVE have shaken up their songwriting enough to do two things - first, to further develop their sound and style into a unique entity and second, to open up a full range of possibilities in their material.

The progressive elements on the track "To Search A Soul" from BRAVE's debut EP are fully realized on the full-length "Searching For The Sun." "Trapped Within" is a virtual powerhouse of a track revealing a heavier, grittier sound that one might not readily expect from BRAVE. "New Beginning" is another track that brings a relative heaviness that complements the usual contemplative BRAVE sound (tracks like "Escape," "I Believe," and "Candle In The Dark").

Vocalist Michelle Loose avoids easy comparisons to other vocalists which is a sign of her growing maturity as a singer and lyricist. Chris Welbourne's bass playing, something I previously have failed to discuss, is as solid as ever, remarkably consistent, and a significant contribution to the overall BRAVE signature. Tom Loose handles all of the acoustic guitar and electric guitar duties on this studio recording - he's one of the few guitarists who can take the hallowed six-string instrument and apply it in a manner that is both appropriate and compelling. Drummer Trevor Schrotz gives the rhythmic backbone supple elements that few bands can ever hope for.

"Search For the Sun" is a wonderful treat. Fans of Persephone's Dream and other progressive/atmospheric bands would be wise to hear BRAVE's bold new disc "Searching For The Sun." I am already looking forward to BRAVE's newest material which I hope will be available sooner rather than later.

"Searching For The Sun" was produced by Kevin '131' Gutierrez and BRAVE.

Brave is Michelle Loose on vocals, piano, and keyboards, Scott Loose on acoustic and electric guitars, Chris Welborn on bass, and Trevor Schrotz on drums.

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"Waist Deep in Dark Waters" (Self-produced; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Brave, formerly known as Arise From Thorns, have released a four-song EP "Waist Deep In Dark Waters" to tide fans over until their next full-length is due from Dark Symphonies. As might be expected Brave does not differ greatly from Arise From Thorns. A slightly more progressive direction is planned for Brave and it is beginning to show in the arrangements and texture of "Waist Deep In Dark Waters."

"Spirit" is the gem on this EP with Michelle Loose's vocal melodies soaring to heights of effortless ease and meaningful purpose. It's on "Spirit" in particular that Ms. Loose's vocals can allow one to imagine what Natalie Merchant would sound like if she were in a more rock'n'roll sound rather than the adult contemporary style she has mastered over the years. The music on "Spirit" is driven by acoustic guitars yet still grit when the electric guitars provide dirty tones to balance out the melodies.

An instrumental excerpt of "To Search A Soul (Part One)" also reveals a remarkable patience that will allow Brave to further make their mark and shows the band's developing skill with more progressive music. 

Brave are truly beginning to paint music with a different palette of colors than almost every single band in existence these days. Brave are band well worth looking into if you appreciate music that focuses on melodies and atmospheric moods.

"Waist Deep In Dark Waters" was produced by Kevin "131" Gutierrez and Brave.

Brave: Michelle Loose on vocals and keyboards, Scoot Loose on acoustic and electric guitars, Tom Phillips on electric guitar, Chris Welborne on bass, and Trevor Scrotz on drums. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 22 May 2018 02:00:57 -0400 .