With years of experience on the Leeds hardcore circuit, features on BBC Introducing, and endorsements from Musical Mathematics, Classically Handsome Brutes’ reputation has been built on their riotous live sets, determination and constant experimentation.
On the back of securing a support slot for Heck (formerly Baby Godzilla) this November, the forthcoming release of their debut EP – Prolegomena – on the 27th December represents a culmination of their efforts thus far, and followers of this math rock trio will not be disappointed with what they have produced on this five-track record – it’s erratic but technical, chaotic yet innovative, palpitation-inducing, but always exciting.
“Followers of this math rock trio will not be disappointed with what they have produced on this five-track record”
Channelling every ounce of energy from one of their live performances, the momentum of this record is set at a blistering pace with ‘Abberant Apparition’ after the strange and ominous instrumental introduction ‘Prolegomenon’. Eerie guitars warped with effects welcome us in with what sounds like a vintage sci-fi soundtrack, interrupted suddenly with two brazen notes signalling the oncoming noise.
After a climactic build-up, the riffs, pounding up-beat rhythm and aggressive vocals that introduce ‘Abberant Apparition’ in fact set the tone for the rest of the EP. Immediately, the comparisons that have been drawn between Classically Handsome Brutes and their influences – from Blakfish, to Arcane Roots, to Every Time I Die, amongst many more – are evident. In combining all the aggression and energy of a hardcore band with the intricacy of their math influences, however, C.H.B. have cultivated their own place amongst this crowd of predecessors.
The range of this trio’s influences stretches beyond these parameters – a bass line edged with funk, groove, and added carnival-esque vocals and drums see in ‘Nice Things’. It’s not long, however, before another frantic set of tempo changes inject fresh pace to proceedings. On this track, particularly, the strength that this group commands with their vocals – as all three members contribute – comes to the fore, with lines intersecting and overlapping for a dynamic complement to the music.
“There’s so much to comprehend in such a short space of time, the whole thing demands revisitation”
The actual lyrics, whilst adding to the tone of the EP, are not necessarily about anything – Blakfish set the bar in terms of turning their aggression into poignant criticisms of their social, economic and personal grievances. For C.H.B., this does not seem to be a concern – and as evidenced by many other math and hardcore groups, it does not have to be. Indeed, it does not detract from the quality of the record at all.
‘Nice Things’ leads into the second instrumental interlude, ‘[Parenthesis]’, which highlights the trio’s jazz influences as well as their proficiency in playing with time signatures. Once again, their core sound comes out in force for the final track ‘Mobius Strip Tease’, a white-knuckle three and a half minutes. At less than ten minutes in length, the entire EP can seem over before it’s begun – but there’s so much to comprehend in such a short space of time, the whole thing demands revisitation.
“Clearly, this is a labour of love, and one that their growing fanbase will revere”
Undoubtedly, the release of this EP will win Classically Handsome Brutes greater attention, especially if they put in as much effort going forward as has evidently gone into this record. The first, frenzied impression of this group can be overwhelming if you’re new to the genre; but pay attention to the craft of Prolegomena, the complexity of each track, and even the way that each flows effortlessly into the next – the whole thing is cyclical. Clearly, this is a labour of love, and one that their growing fanbase will revere.
Prolegomena will be released on 27th December. Keep up with Classically Handsome Brutes on Facebook – (https://www.facebook.com/ClassicallyHandsomeBrutes/?fref=ts)
James is currently listening to ‘The River’ by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard