Bruise Spins The Knife Of Hardcore Into Something Newly Twisted On ‘Grief Ritual’

Hardcore music remains important. For some, that description might be too subjective, but the sounds of the more directly brutal end of the heavy music community figure prominently for many — including the members of Bruise. The Midwestern band’s debut full length is out now on Unbeaten Records. The “Grief Ritual” stomps onto the scene, delivering a punch that is at once brutal and emotionally grueling. They’ve packed both a physical and metaphysical drain into their release.

Vocalist Trae Roberts writes much of the band’s music, crafting the songs to be just what they are. There’s little beating around the bush here. They’ve peeled back the layers of the modern package of heavy music, revealing the pulsating insides and spewing them out for the world.

Roberts explains: “I feel like I would say Grief Ritual, compared to our other stuff, has a much angrier sound overall, even aside from just the lyrics — just an overall angrier sound, and I just think that shows the kinds of things that I was going through and writing about when it was happening.”

At the core of brutally heavy music, as Roberts makes clear, people remain. The most effective music doesn’t operate on its own. Grief Ritual and its contorted struggles with themes of depression and beyond reflect personal experiences.

I would definitely say life situations keep me coming back,” he explains. “That’s the number one outlet I have, obviously as most musicians. I feel like that’s the only way to really express some of the things I’m feeling. That definitely was in place when we started. I think that’s another reason that the band started in the first place for sure, but I think that it has grown since we started.” 

Roberts and his bandmates aren’t the only ones involved in their music, though, and they know that — after all, you can go listen to Grief Ritual right now.

Honestly, being a heavy band, a hardcore band — everybody likes to mosh, you know?” Roberts puts forward. “We try to keep the emotional element and not just make it complete ignorance but always have a pay-off that will be appreciated in a live setting.”

He’s happy about the state of live music across the heavy music community, pointing out some bands that have brought a wider awareness to brutally heavy music, like Code Orange and Knocked Loose. Both bands have gone on high profile tours lately — in fact, at the time of this writing, Knocked Loose is out on a nationwide run with the super high profile Beartooth.

These developments have a pay-off, Roberts believes.

“This year and last year especially I’ve been very excited seeing a lot of hardcore bands come into the mainstream,” he says. “I feel like that can’t be anything but positive for hardcore in general. Seeing bands like Code Orange tour with Gojira and stuff like that and bands like Knocked Loose and stuff that are out doing Warped Tour — it’s definitely bringing people into our community, and I think the rest of the year and 2019 are going to be a really good year for hardcore.”

The music remains — well beyond the boundaries slapped on by outsiders.

Check out the band’s music below via Spotify.