Brave – The Calm|The Storm
Release Date: January 8, 2019
After 10+ years, Virginia prog/rock/metal/folk/whatever band has returned to the scene with a new album entitled The Calm|The Storm. I’ll be honest. Whenever a band I love puts out new material I get pretty nervous because first off, I want it to be great and second, I know I would have to be honest in my reviewing of their album. With Brave being one of my all time favorite bands, the pressure was one for both of us but guess what? This album fucking rules.
The Calm|The Storm is somewhat a conceptual album but instead of a conceptual story, the concept is actually based upon the title. “I Will Wait” kicks the album off and right away it sounds and feels like Brave hasn’t missed a step at all.
The lush keyboard arrangement coupled with the unmistakable rhythm section of drummer Trevor Schrotz and bassist Ben Kelly sets the tone for the song as Michelle Schrotz’s distinct and pristine vocals enter into what becomes an epic track. Kelly’s bass playing his the highlight of this song and it’s great to hear Ben really stepping out to the front. Leave it to Brave to make a four minute song sound like an epic number!
The Calm portion of the album continues with “No Gravity” which has violinist Suvo Sur stepping to the front to showcase his ability to break the mold of the average violinist. The album continues on with the ethereal beauty of “A Thousand Miles of Sand.” In this song, I can hear a heavy Queensrych, Empier/Promised Land era track. The lyrics of this song are so full of vivid imagery that it definitely is a track to be savored and not just played as background music.
“Summertime” breaks up the album’s dark undertones with a lively, upbeat song that has Schrotz reminiscing on the carefree, youthful days of past. I really didn’t dig this song when I first heard it but after really listening to it in context, it’s a truly great song and it actually does give us a break before we forge headfirst into The Storm.
“Race to the End” features the remarkable voice of While Heaven Wept vocalist Rain Irving, this song isn’t just the beginning of the storm but the dynamics between these two voice create a beautiful tension and honestly makes me wish that Irving and Schrotz would collaborate more in the future kind of like the Allen/Lande albums. I think these two could really do something special. The show stopper for me is “Electric Ravens”, the electric version of the b-side of their 2014 single “Surrounds Me” which was called “Three Ravens.” Hearing this song played with a different dynamic kind of caught me off guard. I love the acoustic version so much but this song just took on a whole new life on The Calm|The Storm and reminded me of something Lacuna Coil would’ve done back in the Comalies/Karmacode eras. This is the kind of song I could picture being a hit for them.
The Calm|The Storm isn’t what I would call a comeback. It’s a long awaited continuation of the Brave discography. The album showcases much growth in the band musically as performers and songwriters. This is hands down Brave’s best material to date as they once again refuse to adhere to the rules of any particular genre. Brave plays one of kind of music: Brave music and it puts them above all those that so hard to be one particular thing. Dynamics, versatility, and no fear; Brave lives up to their name without a doubt.