Solid but over-hyped
It's a dangerous tactic by bands to include huge sweeping statements to describe their music in their press releases. Apparently Brigade cannot be limited to genre pigeonholing, their songs are earth shattering and can blow up into enormous soundscape epics. Although it makes the reviewer want to drop everything and listen to the CD, (which I guess is the whole purpose), if the music doesn't live up to the hype then they're in for a critical mauling.
I was expecting a prog rock experience with huge keyboards, great musicianship and songs that are longer than an episode of Holby City. What I got was a standard rock affair that is being played by ten-a-penny bands on the Scuzz and Kerrang Channels. The music is a cross between Sinch and Handsome and is hardly beyond pigeonholing.
It may seem that I am about to give 'Made to Wreck' an analytical pummelling but this is far from the truth because the title track that opens this four song E.P is excellent. It's slow and brooding with a highly effective tom and clean guitar jangle underneath the verse. There are several interesting parts to the song that keeps the listener interested throughout. 'Safe Hands' follows and the dark overtones of the first song are completely lost as a happy sounding riff bounces its way towards you and spoils the mood. It's a bit of let down and doesn't naturally follow 'Made to Wreck' although having said that the last 45 seconds of this song are superb. The drums are busier, the guitars are blazing and the attitude just rips at you, why couldn't the first three minutes be like this? The wonderfully titled 'Meet Me At My Funeral' keeps the tempo up and is a much better song than 'Safe Hands'. Although it has a generic 'up the scale' riff, it's a classy rocker with a gorgeous slow middle break before kicking back in with some urgency. 'Null and Void' finishes this release and is pretty monotonous in its delivery, relying on a continuously down-plucked chord sequence. The song has a great staccato riff, another good mellow break and superb thumping sequence underlined by a growling bass drone. More should have been made of these great ideas but things like this will come with songwriting experience. On a further note, Will Simpson's vocals, although described as angelic and harmonious, are a little weedy at times often getting lost in the mix. Brigade have a big sound but I don't think Will cuts it on the full-on distorted guitar parts.
I feel like I've been a little harsh on Brigade but there's a great band waiting to emerge from its current cocoon form. They don't exactly live up to the P.R hype but with time Brigade could be an excellent band, lets hope the British Music Industry doesn't let them down.
Lastly, it is also mentioned in the press release that Will Simpson is brother of Fightstar's Charlie Simpson and they aren't relying on publicity stunts and name checking. If this is the case then why put it on the press release? (Who are Fightstar anyway? I've never heard of them.)