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Brns – “Wounded” Review

Belgium's finest post grunge experimental rock band

Brns are a bonkers Belgian band whose debut album released in 2012 I’ve only just came across in recent months (don’t you love Bandcamp!) Their mish mash of grungy guitars, heavy smashing drums and chant like vocal lines that often drive further and further home each time the cycle repeats – it’s a fine line they walk but it’s a marvellous album/

Opener “Clairvoyant” is one of the more sedate tracks on the album as the chorus and mid tempo rock scream and implore you to listen further and further. At times the guitars are just a wall of noise but it never feels anything other than skill fully planned. Is there such a thing as post-grunge?! “Deathbed” is more of a verse chorus track as the line “I love you so and if you think I’m lying your very close” repeats over a beautiful electric guitar melody. What’s great with Brns is that they often throw in something a bit strange into the grungy mix and here it’s an angelic xylophone that becomes the coda so-to-speak as the vocals transition from calm and coherent into a visceral crowd growl. Brns strength lies in the fact it takes the time to ride waves of emotion and they don’t feel they have to do it in the confines of the normal four-minute song structure. Take the single “Mexico” which is up next. It’s a riot. I challenge any rock lover to not be moshing and chanting along with the chanting chorus melody. You can hear experimental dance rock and even elements of tribal beats being thrown into the mix and it’s invigorating.

“Here Dead He Lies” focuses on organs, tuned percussion and using the guitar in a percussive and melody way. The way the drums absolutely thunder through the mix and the guitar zips and slides like it’s being pushed around by the drums is inspired. On top of that its a catchy tune and so its win all round. “Thru the Graveyard” is probably my least favourite because it’s not as immediate as the rest but each listen sees it growing on me over time. It’s a bit mumbly and muddy and doesn’t let its hooks shine through straight away – especially when “The Story of the Bible” captures you immediately with its angelic voices and organ arpeggios before it breaks into grungy rock. This track is a real grower as it slowly builds from its quiet and unassuming roots into an orgy of sounds, crashing, shouts, chugs and beams. This paves the way perfectly for album closer “Our lights” which puts everything you’ve heard from Brns before into a perfect five-minute anthem. It’s sublime and probably the best place to start with the band.

Put simply, this is Belgium’s finest rock band I’ve come across and they really have a raucous sound all of their own. I’m hugely impressed and cannot wait to hear their latest album which is due very soon.

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