Brutus Credit: Geert Braekers

There are few things less cool than a singing drummer. Drummers already have it bad enough; they’re typically pushed into the background, the last member of a band to get any attention or credit. The only people who really care about them are other drummers, and then only on occasion. I’m a drummer myself, so I get it. And when drummers add lead vocals from behind the kit, they somehow seem even dorkier. Drummer-singer Stephanie Mannaerts of Belgian posthardcore trio Brutus is not only an exception to this rule, she turns the whole premise upside down. She’s a total ripper on the kit, and her voice is dynamic, beautiful, and haunting. Her stage presence is a mesmerizing, magnetic mix of fury, skill, and showmanship that commands complete attention—which is saying a lot, considering what powerhouses her bandmates are. Brutus play intense, airy posthardcore; Stijn Vanhoegaerden’s tremolo-style guitar walks the line between atmospheric postrock and chilling black metal, while Peter Mulders’s growling bass holds down the songs’ gnarly-yet-catchy rhythms. The band’s second album, the brand-new Nest (released in America via Sargent House), is an unstoppable force from start to finish, piling unnerving melody and spooky ambience atop their complex, crushing take on punk and hardcore. Tonight’s show is Brutus’s Chicago debut, and it’s not to be missed.   v