Unique Belgian post-hardcore trio Brutus formed in Leuven in 2014. The band was originally a Refused
tribute act, playing the legendary Swedish hardcore act's magnum opus The Shape of Punk to Come in its entirety at their shows.
When guitarist Stijn Vanhoegaerden and bassist Peter Mulders had to audition for a new drummer, they invited Stefanie Mannaerts, whom they had heard spoken of in hushed tones as the best on the local scene. She turned up, blew them away with a note-perfect rendition of the whole Refused
album, and Brutus were born, the trio realizing their talent was too good to waste in a tribute band and that they should be composing their own material. As well as being a superb drummer, Mannaerts was also a fine vocalist with a powerful set of pipes and dynamic range. Fronting the band from behind the kit, she easily switched between harsh and clean vocals, all while playing complex math-rock rhythms and even blastbeats. Despite its members' wildly varying tastes in music -- ranging from Slayer
through Bruce Springsteen
to the Weeknd
-- the band had a surprisingly cohesive aesthetic. Combining elements of post-rock, mathcore, black metal, and prog, their sound was raw yet tuneful, complex yet accessible. Quickly snapped up by Hassle Records
, they recorded their debut album, Burst, at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver with Jesse Gander; it was released in March 2017. ~ John D. Buchanan, Rovi