Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre: Indie rock, avant-garde jazz
Full Length: Bare Bones
Format: Digital album
Release date: May 16, 2021
In her last concert at New York's CBGB, Patti Smith urged new artists to continue the tradition established by the first artists to perform there. She urged creators to replace easy accessibility with something bold and innovative, adding that even if the club ended, people could still create if they dared. It seems that the artistic and musical expressions embodied by these artists have been given a new voice today by someone who has notable experience in the extreme metal world.
Lori Bravo developed her unique qualities earlier in her career. As the first lady of death metal, Bravo's exposure to classical music and opera influenced her work as frontwoman, bassist, and vocalist for Nuclear Death. Taking extreme metal to extremes, even in their time, these guys were the farthest you could get from the mainstream. Those who appreciated their nightmare visions were few and far between in the late 80s, since they were so out of the ordinary. While they disbanded in the 90s for reasons Bravo discloses to Terminus Extreme Metal Podcast, their legacy is finding new life in the 2020s.
I listened to Nuclear Death in the early days of death metal and felt I was listening to something special. The deeply personal compositions on Bravo's full-length "Bare Bones" give me the same feeling. While there are traces of her early career here, she writes music and lyrics that can captivate fans of Smith, Nico and Velvet Underground, Janis Joplin, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Lydia Lunch, Lingua Ignota and Diamanda Galas. The work of Bravo, who lives in New Orleans, holds a candle to anything inspired by the 70s movement in New York City. Her fusion of early punk/alt-rock, jazz, and blues isn't for everyone, but it appeals to the raw instincts of fear and anger on a level few artists of those genres can.
"Bare Bones" is an album that portrays you searching for something that continues to elude you, or comes with drinks or chemicals. You're situated in an abandoned house or an apartment in a run-down tenement with creaky floors and decaying walls. One feels like one must go to this place to escape the outside world in order to face one's demons. Is it better to overcome them or to embrace them? The experience described in the song will determine whether you can relate to this album, but the intensity and isolation in this album are so vivid that it's almost impossible not to.
Bravo has been recording solo since 2003 and does all the lyrics, songwriting, recording, mixing, and mastering here. She croons, croons, and howls like a possessed gospel singer letting loose with praises to all things dark and fatalistic accompanied only by acoustic and electric guitars. Bravo exhibits many feelings that most others only suggest or keep hidden from public view, whether it is entreating blank walls for inner freedom, struggling with addiction in silence, remembering long-dead family members, grieving lost beauty, or being consumed with the state of the world. Bravo reveals feelings others simply hint at or keep buried. -Dave Wolff
1. Pink Moon
2. On the Pain
3. Digital Spell
4. Lay You Down in the Soil
5. This Devil I'll Allow (Southern Ruby Devil)
6. Where is My Lover?
8. Fry Park
9. What Do the Beautiful People Eat? (What Are Beautiful?)
10. Suicide and Fentanyl
11. Diamond Heart