There is an inherent sense of fragility even in the heaviest of weights. Sisyphus knew this in his eternal damnation and punishment, of pushing the rock up the mountain. One slip on the ground below and Sisyphus would drop, his stone loping back down to the plain below. Only if he was fortunate would the stone miss his eggshell head on its backwards fall from the mountain.
In a myriad of ways, Lions the Brave is like Sisyphus. In so many other ways, their stone is the product of their work. However, Lions the Brave hasn’t been punished, in fact, they’ve been blessed.
A relatively new act in the Denver scene, the instrumental act of Lions the Brave (Shawn Porter, guitar; Kevin Robinson, guitar; Micah McCartney, drums) carries a sense of emotional heft in their work in the way that a distinguished gentleman wears his Rolex under the short cuffs of his tailored suit.
Colorado natives, the boys of the Brave grew-up under the wings where the equivocation between music and power was evident. A tool to assist in the growth and articulation of their spiritual journeys, music was employed – both as a link between them and their grasp of the metaphysics surrounding them.
Without vocals, the Brave’s titles become beacons from which to begin. Titles like “Mastadon”, “The Showdown” and “A Heartbeat Away” illuminate the direction of the song, informing its story, introduction, climax and resolve. Because, in the end, the boys of the Brave do see their songs as stories – parabolas in a fluid and flowing continuum. Their storylines are the complex storylines of life, ebbing and flowing – laterally and progressively forward, sometimes even taking a step backwards with a big stop before or after a change.
Big and sonorous, Lions the Brave has been reinventing many of the rooms that they have inhabited with their spacious and heavy anthems. I have seen and heard the Brave boys silence a room, turn heads, and halt conversations that weren’t that important afterall. Often it takes the time of a couple of songs to infect a room like this, because Lions the Brave is all about momentum. Their stories ache and sway and then blow-up in front of you as though it had been coming since your birth, this big bang. This cosmic transformation. This enlightenment.
But on another occasion I saw Sisyphus drop the stone and, in silence, we all watched it tumble back down to the plain. And while the boys stood back up and began walking up the mountain to its summit, the rumble of the rock pounding back to the plain in the middle of that silent, echoing murder of sound was too much for many of us to get back onto the ride. Yes, even when you’re pushing tons of organic matter up a hill – sometimes just one broken metal string can kill the momentum.
To their credit, this is exactly the fragility that is evident in their emotionally driven work: if the momentum finds a crest of a wave to ride – then it will ride all the way into land. But if something as small as the moon – millions of miles away – shifts, the wave will subside and the ride will die a dizzying death.
This is brave.
This is Lions the Brave. This is the kind of creation that proves that music is the kind of agent which picks-up where words leave off. This is the kind of music that shows us exactly where our mouths become hollow with windy words and an inability to articulate. This is the kind of music that punctuates the ineffable, pulls it out from behind the dark stars and empty voids of the outer reaches.
It is on account of its weight and struggle to ever leave the ground at all whereby this project called Lions the Brave becomes an uphill momentum. For if you let go, you must begin again. But stay the course, put your back and your history into it – and you might just be surprised – for if you close your eyes you may just see the story and find the strength to be brave at all and continue creating this upward momentum.
And where Lions the Brave represents many elements of the human condition – the one which flies from the underbelly of their wave is that: the reward is too great to ignore the possibility of defeat and falling and the rock tumbling back down to the plain.
Where the Brave resides, there is no safe alleviation. For Lions the Brave do not employ the verses and choruses of vocally-driven work. Instead, they toil in a place that shines with a more literary zeal. The draw-out chapters rely on the formlessness of the void by which they are walking into. To that end, there is no formula for pushing the stone up the hill. Each time, the story is different – with new complications and adventures.
As a listener, Lions the Brave is nighttime music, where the only words you hear is the universal lexicon of formlessness and mass evading disaster, exploding into some kind of triumph. Lions the Brave is the story of the beginning of time and everything cataclysmic about life. Their music is about the heaviness of being alive, as well as the inherent fragility in all of that given, granted power of breathing life.
Stay tuned to this exploding Denver act, for their upcoming shows and album releases: