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Brave - The Calm | The Storm CD (album) cover



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3 stars The last full studio album Brave released was back in 2008. Its hard to believe that was over 10 years ago. They return with a new album now in 2019 called 'The Calm/The Storm' with the same 6 member line up. Michelle Schrotz (whose last name was formerly Loose) is lead singer and keyboardist. Her brother Scott Loose is the guitarist along with Matt Kozar. Trevor Schrotz is on the drums, Ben Kelly on Bass and Suvo Sur on violin and keyboards. The band is listed as Progressive Metal, but previous to the formation of 'Brave' they were known as 'Arise from Thorns' and explored a more avant-garde style. When they changed their style, they changed their name.

The music on this album is a pleasant combination of heaviness with full on electric guitar work (The Storm) and acoustic, more mellow songs (The Calm), but overall tends to come out sounding like a progressive lite band. Michelle's vocals are nice enough and fit well to the more mellow sounds on this album.

'I Will Wait' starts off the album on the heavy side, but a safe distance from really being called metal, but almost sounds like the pop/metal sounds of 'Linkin Park'. It is a good opener and the following track stays in the same style with 'Mystery'. Things turn more of a MOR track with more acoustic guitar, but retaining the rest of the band on 'A Thousand Miles of Sand'. 'No Gravity' continues a lighter feel in a Celtic style lilt, an instrumental with the welcome sound of a violin leading the track.

'Summertime' follows with a heavier sound, but again it leans towards pop/metal, this time sounding more 'Heart'-like. Unfortunately, it's the more pop version of Heart. 'Bay Song' is a nice acoustic ballad, but is rather short. 'Race to the End' has more of a heavy blues feel to it with churning guitars, and probably approaches the metal sound more than the prior tracks. There is a guest vocalist on there too who almost sounds like Devin Townsend except it's not, it's Rain Irving. Hmmm. The violin is featured on this on too, and the track is a definite highlight. Great track, but it's still progressive-lite.

'November' is a lovely mid-tempo ballad. 'Electric Ravens' is a bit heavier but pretty much a straightforward mid-tempo rocker. The album ends with 'Feel the Rain' and follows the pattern by offering a more acoustic track. After the first 2 tracks on this album, the predictable pattern of acoustic followed by electric tracks continues through the rest of the album.

This album seems to be quite far away from being metal or progressive, being very lite on both aspects. The music is great, especially the softer tracks, as the heavier ones seem a little convoluted, but they are still mostly enjoyable. I can easily give this a 3 star rating because it is fairly commercial and quite 'middle of the road' sounding. There are some tracks towards the middle that are weak, but it is still listenable. The highlights for me are both 'No Gravity' and 'Race to the End'.

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Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 | Review Permalink

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