Brazen – Brazen / Kevlar Split 2xMCD

Brazen / Kevlar Split 2xMCD

Now this is neat. A split EP, two songs from each band, only it’s not on a single CD or even a 7″. It’s on two separate mini 3″ CDs, packaged together in different colors and a very unique and slick envelope. Maybe this has been done before, but I’ve never seen it. Bravo to the Switzerland label Snuff for turning out something that’s as good musically as the packaging would suggest.
Both bands here are from Europe – Kevlar from Sweden and Brazen from Switzerland – but both sing in English and have a very comfortable sound that anyone in the US or UK will appreciate. That’s not to say they sound entirely familiar, although both have a similar sound to each other. Their songs here are exemplified by driving guitars, powerful and raw vocal delivery, and hardcore meets emo aesthetics. Yet they’re original in their own approach to the music, which makes the pairing so much the better.
Brazen get the black disc, and their first song, “Everlasting Gestures,” floors me. I was expecting some European power-rock, and what I got was a six-minute track that’s almost completely an instrumental, full of driving, powerful guitars, throbbing basslines, and stellar drumming. The whole song just explodes, powerful and very fluid, and when the vocals come in for the middle section, the song gets quiet and moody, giving the track even greater urgency. Then “Statues and Waifs” is entirely different. Blazing, powerful guitars accompanied by screamed yet comprehensible vocals makes this a fantastic piece of emotive hardcore. The guitarwork and raw vocals are fantastic, and again the rhythm section really shines.
Kevlar contain two former members of the Swedish band Starmarket, and after several of their releases, I have to admit I enjoy their style of powerful, emotive rock. Their style is a bit more rock-focused – along the lines of Fugazi – than the more hardcore and experimental Brazen. “Capitol City Child” has some fantastic Starmarket-like guitar, light and melodic yet with enough driving elements, and the vocals are fantastic. Distortion-laden and emotive, they make the song more catchy and memorable. “1888” is much more calm and deliberate, with nice separate guitar parts and a very flowing style. I keep expecting vocals to come in, but the song doesn’t really need them. It changes enough to avoid repetition.
The packaging sets the stage for some great music. Two songs each from two fantastic, powerful rock bands from Europe. I don’t hear enough European rock, but I have no doubt that these two are some of the best from the region. This one is definitely worth checking out, and I’m especially excited to hear more from Brazen.