This March sees local band BRACE follow up their 2012 split with new EP Conscious Thinking. Sitting pretty at 7 songs of blistering north-east hardcore metal, this EP is longer than the average, but at no point will you be looking at your watch.
The EP begins with Oh How We Sang, which is reminiscent of The Chariot: a choir is just audible underneath feedback, before a terribly dark guitar riff and Adam Dempster's vocals unveils this new, improved, and angrier band. This definitely sets the tone for the rest of the EP. There are moments, such as in Line After Line, which are clearly the BRACE we all know and love, but there seems to be a lot more energy and emotion throughout.
Conscious Thinking also has plenty of moments of just pure metal, like in Living, which was released for free earlier this year. However, what I've always admired about BRACE is that they seem to take what they like from other genres and make it their own. When they came on the scene they were one of the first bands I noticed that blended metal and hardcore. This EP sees them trying a range of different things, like the horribly sad clean guitar that guides the path for Adam's pained vocals in In Repetition.
Only For Them To Say is heartbreaking. Is it the feedback? Is it the clean guitar? Is it the guest vocals from Bear Arms? I'd go for all of the above, but whatever it was it stopped me in my tracks.
The EP ends heavy as hell. Mind Your Head and And Keep On Walking finish Conscious Thinking off on a sound close to something like that of While She Sleeps. But don't think this is much of the same: again, like everything they do, BRACE have made a sound all to their own, and all I want to do is a spinning heel kick along to this.
It's their angriest and rawest recording to date. This is the product of a bunch of hard-working guys who are particularly mad. For those who caught them gigging recently, this might seem familiar, but nothing could get you ready for what's to come in the future from this five piece.
Conscious Thinking by BRACE is out on 1/3/2013 via Cold War Legacy.