Review: Brume ‘Marten’

Ten years is a long time, especially for bands. To be starting out, and constantly evolving, that point between inception and realisation can be a bumpy road indeed. For San Frasncisco’s Brume, more than most, this evolution is more significant.

The band went from a trio to a quartet in recent years, with Susie McMullan on vocal and bass, Jamie McCathie on guitar and vocal, Jordan Perkins providing drum and percussion support, and now with the addition of Jackie Perez Gratz on cello, it has taken them to a completely new level of entity indeed.

Brume 'Marten' Artwork
Brume ‘Marten’ Artwork

Although quite the band to begin with, this new element has really paid off, and the bands rejuvenation has been magical. And with their third album Marten released at the beginning of May through Magnetic Eye Records, Brume have become so much more than before. The inclusion of the cello to the mix has seen their renaissance and should elevate them into the gothic stratosphere within the foreseeable future.

The album itself is made up of eight doomy masterpieces, where slowed post-rock and goth mend together to create visionary soundscapes, just perfect for those dark nights in the wilderness.

Coming in at just over forty-six minutes, Marten is a perfectly formed opus, not too long that it becomes a drag, and not too short as to be underwhelming, the span works to maximum effect to create mood and emotions, which linger long after the album has finished.

It is hard to overly pigeonhole them, yes, it’s gothic, but not in a caricature of the genre, and when its heavy and doomy, it’s actually quite lively for the tone. The beauty throughout is that each element – the vocals, the guitar, the drums, the cello – are so lush and coherent in sound, it makes for an opulent and enjoyable listen.

Album opener, Jimmy, welcomes in the brand new for 2024 Brume with a modest beginning. Slow moody cello ushers in the remainder of the band, and perfectly showcases Susie’s sultry vocal. Beautifully dark, the deep doomy landscape is laid out before the listener, a mysterious soundscape to behold. This is the perfect snapshot for the band, and to anyone new to Brume, this is a fantastic starting point.

New Sadder You picks up where Jimmy leaves us, and again, the slow drawn cello sets the tone for the whole event. It leaves no doubt the unique experience the band have set out to accomplish, which is so totally their own niche corner of the musical landscape, that this is why you won’t be finding any comparison to any other band in this review because honestly, I can’t name anyone who does what Brume do so eloquently.

a powerfully intoxicating album and with each listen grows increasingly harrowingly emotional as you fall deeper into its spell…

Faux Savior is our first deviation where the band mix things up by introducing multiple vocals in unison to a backdrop of eerie ethereal darkness. Truly intoxicating, it feels like a ritual incantation more than anything else, perhaps this is how Brume pull us in, with mystical sorcery?

After a pensive start, Otto’s Song capitalises on its predecessor but somehow manages to be more uplifting in its nature. It feels like a false sense of security, as it feels lighter and brighter.

How Rude is the first glimpse at the other side of the band. Ludicra’s Laurie Shanaman joins them to provide additional vocals to the piece, the juxtaposition between more introverted singing and guttural growls is immense. It works to devastating effect, and drives the track in a darker, more visceral flow.

The one track that is the peculiarity on the album as it’s completely alien to the rest with a more experimental and drone like feel is Heed Me. Minimal in content, beyond vocal and electronic ambience, this track shows the potential the band have for bringing in other elements whenever they want to try new things without fear of failure.

Run Your Mouth returns us to that darkly emotional experience which Brume have been giving us to this point and is so rich in its darkness. Painfully mournful, you can feel the cello weeping throughout, as it openly conveys its wounds.

This leads gracefully onto the climax of the album, The Yearn. Again, it’s sorrowful and draws on every sad emotion ever felt. The beautiful vocal washes over the instrumentation and is utterly intoxicating. It tugs at the heart strings, and endeavours to consistently induce a feeling of woe. Towards the end, there is a real flourish of intensity, before dying off into nothingness.

Not for the faint-hearted, this is a powerfully intoxicating album and with each listen grows increasingly harrowingly emotional as you fall deeper into its spell. Beautiful, simply darkly beautiful indeed.

Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish