Bruges Perform Magnificently Pummeling Noise Rock On Powerful New Album

Chicago’s Bruges seem to capture the horror of mental malaise on their hard-hitting new album A Thread of Light.

The band perform repetitious noise rock, with rather formidable, beefy rhythms that land with the weight of a rockslide, à la intense doom metal. The rhythms themselves pack seeping tension, and Bruges drag this electrifying instrumental agony out to a startling degree, delivering a truly uneasy, chest-clutching portrait of desperation. Despite the extended, repetitious rhythms, A Thread of Light packs an unmistakable sense of personal urgency. Bruges sound raw and real, as if the instrumentation itself reflects shifting emotional states in a moment of steep crisis.

Bruges perform with simmering fury, like a pot that’s constantly cycling through its boiling point, and the group’s underlying rhythms truly feel starkly powerful. They’ve twisted their rhythmic strength into an ominously contorting sense of sonic expulsion, as if the album reflects a grueling metaphysical purification session. The album feels like the sonic equivalent of an absolutely sweltering sauna where the door has suddenly inexplicably locked, trapping one inside as the walls suddenly appear to melt under the weight of a kind of deluded revelry induced by the strain of the billowing heat.

On A Thread of Light, every element, from the drums to the guitar riffing to the vocals, hits earth-crackingly hard. Patrick Nordyke, the band’s vocalist, sounds arrestingly manic on the band’s latest work, with a sometimes spoken word cadence in his menacing, venomous vocals. After the gradually increasing intensity of the album’s first couple of tracks, Bruges step into a more breathably somber repeating rhythm on “Translucent” before moving through a jarringly heavy bassline on follow-up track “Not Here” and arriving at brisker rhythms on “Layering.” Some moments, like “Passive Forms,” feature some nicely grooving swagger in the rhythms, but Bruges mostly focus on tense desperation.

Across A Thread of Light, the riffs jut out like mangled, twisting limbs, as a slow yet inescapably formidable pace leaves the central strength on full display. The music’s physical punch feels real, and Bruges have expanded this power into a sonic chemical bath. The consistently rather restrained tempos at which the band perform make their listening experience feel rigorously straining, like a solitary climb up the side of an isolated mountain while bruised and bloody from the rocks and while each step feels increasingly difficult. The album explores stunning extremes.

5/5 Stars

Listen to A Thread of Light below!