Epoch is defined as a defining moment in a person’s life or a mark in history. That is what Australian post hardcore outfit The Brave hope to achieve with their debut album, Epoch. As the band’s frontman Nathan Touissant explains “..for us that is exactly what this album is. It’s a significant thing that has taken us from just being a local band having a bit of fun to a signed band with an album we are truly proud of.”
Giving an album such an eponymous title means that it has that much more to live up to, and fortunately, Epoch meets the high standards set upon it. Upon first listen, there’ll be a tendency to label this as a strictly metalcore record, but as it progresses, there’s so much more to be heard. From the subdued elements of ambiance and the utilization of skittered electronics, there’s a sound here that comes across as reminiscent of some older Bring Me the Horizon material. While this doesn’t lend credence to something groundbreaking, The Brave does enough to craft their own identity without being reliant on borrowed sounds. The album is full of emotion which is highlighted from the opening track “Searchlights” as the song is dedicated to Toussaint’s cousin who passed away in 2007. “1945” is another example of the emotion that is displayed with a more ballad driven approach as atmospheric elements accompanied by background choral vocals make the song one of the highlights of the album. This doesn’t mean that the album as a whole is a subdued, slow paced affair as the album is littered with a chaotic, breakneck speed musically and instrumentally.
While many artists have been utilizing electronics and atmospheric tendencies for years, there tends to be either an overabundance or lack of those elements, ultimately failing to get the point of them across. This helps highlight one of The Brave’s biggest strengths as they admirably walk that fine line between crushing and swirling riffs and breakdowns while maintaining a focus on atmosphere without letting either get in the way, letting each song stand on its own. “Dreamless” showcases both sides of the coin admirably as Northlane’s own Marcus Bridge features on the track helping the band display the atmospheric and metalcore sides both flawlessly in one solid package.
Overall, this is a solid album that has an innate ability to connect with listeners on both an emotional level and a musically fun level. With ambient and electronic elements, bouncy riffs and hard hitting breakdowns, the record should draw in longtime metalcore fans and new fans alike. Even though Epoch won’t come across as a groundbreaking or genre defining album, it’s a true representation of what’s to come from the genre and the band. With this record, it’s clear that The Brave are near the front of the charge.