Bombastic guitars, serene violin, airy keys, tribal thunder drums, deft jazzy bass and cinematically huge vocals all come together to forge the signature sound of Washington DC outfit BRAVE. The six-piece have just released their latest album the calm | the storm which takes the listener on an epic journey through major trials with dire consequences. This will be their seventh release including those under the previous moniker Arise From Thorns. The band's tight cohesion may be attributed to their multiple family ties. Guitarist Scott Loose and Michelle Schrotz (nee Loose) are brother and sister and she is the wife of drummer Trevor Schrotz. BRAVE have forged themselves a nice little niche in similar territory to where bands like Lacuna Coil and Halestorm inhabit.

The opener and lead single 'I Will Wait' serves as a perfect resume for the band with all their talents on full display. A tingling cascade of echoing guitar sets the mood like a rush of warm air preceding a thunderstorm. The band follows crashing in with churning vigour before opening up with the languishing notes of sorrowful violin. Schrotz' voice comes in like a guiding light in the gales. In the simmering breakdown, Ben Kelly's frenetic bass stirs up a frenzy while Suvo Sur's yelping violin calls out in the night. The chorus' refrain of “I will try not to be afraid when my time comes for me” conjures images of holy wars and life-defining quests.

Levity comes mid-album with the instrumental 'No Gravity' featuring Kelly and Sur and the downright bouncy 'Summertime' with it's skipping 'The Cure on a Friday' beat and '80s arena rock distorted guitars. The 'Bay Song's duet between brother and sister brings to mind a sweet fairy tale with Loose accompanying Schrotz with a tender acoustic. The winter seeps back in with the weight of 'Race to the End' and 'November'. The album has this cyclic feel of completing a year's journey, coming out the other side a changed person.

The calm | the storm, as you would imagine, has a very earthy feel. The organic nature of Sur's violin and Schrotz' 'Mother Nature' vocals is echoed in the playing of the rest of the group. The songs feel like they have a history or that they've been passed down through the generations even if the subject matter has a perceived immediacy. BRAVE put in a solid entry to the epic progressive hard rock field without flooding it with played out references to mythological creatures, instead choosing to keep it within the lexicon of everyday life allowing the listener to give their daily struggles a larger meaning without having to delve into some medieval melee.