Arise From Thorns - Before An Audience Of Stars

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Dark Symphonies
Catalog Number: Dark 11
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:24:00

Arise From Thorns (now called Brave) hails from Virginia and plays acoustic folky Goth which dances on the edge of "progressive". Though the band can be seen in the light of alternative pop performers like Tori Amos, they are also very different and totally unique. AFT were made up of five members: Chris Welborn - bass, Trevor Schrotz - drums, Tom Phillips - electric guitar (live), Scott Loose -acoustic/electric guitar and finally Michelle Loose who plays keyboards and sings. Before An Audience of Stars was their second release, self produced in 1999.

The brilliant Dark Wave/Goth label, Dark Symphonies has signed the group as Brave, yet has (wisely) chosen to re-release BAAS. Though the CD has gathered accolades from all over the world, especially in Northern Europe (where they've become a sort of mellower US version of The Gathering), the band has not seen the extensive distribution and promotion they deserve. Let's hope that Dark Symphonies puts an end to all that.

There's a definite early Dead Can Dance influence to most of the songs on this album, though AFT try less to evoke third world mysticism than to weave hauntingly beautiful melodies. The world music thing was Dead Can Dance's downfall in the end and I'm sure that Brave will not fall into that mess. In the end, what we have is an up-to- date and more complete version of All About Eve.

With only the faint hint of electric guitar, it's hard to find the metal roots of AFT. There's some uptempo numbers and songs like "Dreaming" change tempo and time signatures seemingly at will.

Michelle Loose's voice doesn't have the power or range of some of her contemporaries, but it has a gritty maturity and eloquence that reminds me of Natalie Merchant. Scott Loose's electric guitar leads are used sparingly, but they are noticeably effective as they snake around Michelle's voice from song to song.

Welborn's bass lines are very melodic and add further embellishments to the music beyond the call of duty. All in all, Brave, the former Arise From Thorns, is a young band with a lot of maturity and are most definitely at the start of a long and illustrious career. I was one who always was skeptical of the US contribution to the prog scene. Though very little originality can be found in the US prog metal movement, clearly an abundance is brewing on the Goth/Dark Wave scene.

Dreaming / Time Alone / Among The Leaves / I Can't Believe / Lure / Surrender / Remember The Stars / Lovelorn / Persia / The Red & The Black / Bluer Skies bonus tracks: To Dance by Moonlight (live) / The Calling / Return Of The Old Forest

Michelle Loose - vocals, keyboards
Scott Loose - acoustic/electric guitar
Tom Phillips - electric guitar
Trevor Schrotz - drums/percussion
Chris Welborn - bass guitar

Before An Audience Of Stars (1999/2001)
Brave - Waist Deep In Dark Waters (200?)
Brave - Searching For The Sun (2002)
Brave - Passages (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: April 10th 2001
Reviewer: Richard Zywotkiewicz

Artist website:
Hits: 1049
Language: english


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