An encounter which just grows in strength and persuasion with every listen, the self-titled debut album from Welsh metallers I Fight Bears is an ear grabbing statement of potential and success. Brewing a healthy blend of the familiar and fresh, it is a declaration of a band with all the weaponry to make a potent impact on the British metal scene.
Hailing from Bridgend, I Fight Bears draw on the inspirations of bands such as Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive, and Lamb Of God for their voracious sound. It is not necessarily the most unique proposal you will come up against yet each song within the band’s first album has a freshness and adventure which commands attention. Since emerging around two years ago, the band has stirred ears and praise with their singles and a live presence which has taken them alongside the likes of When We Were Wolves, Skies In Motion, and Perpetua. Predominately self-recorded by the band itself with Micheal Paget (Bullet For My Valentine) involved on some songs for both mastering and mixing, their first album is a big nudge at richer and thicker attention and instantly makes a potent impact.
It opens with the mighty Hammers, melodic enticement and hungry rhythms instantly to the fore before it all unites for a rapacious and inviting enticement. A great blend of throat scraping and clean vocals grab their own healthy portion of attention soon after, the excellent mix matched by the predacious craft of the rhythms and creative weave of the guitars. Infectious and intimidating, it is a great start to the release; as suggested familiar and new imagination entangling in magnetic success.
Upcoming single, Envision, follows sharing melodic vines which maybe are not the most original but make a tasty appetiser for the blossoming enterprise of the song to flourish upon, again vocals captivating at the heart of the creative web. As the guitars weave, rhythms pounce with an anthemic touch, fiery grooves and spicy hooks latching onto their intrusive swing. With a touch of Avenged Sevenfold to it, the song hits the spot before making way for the band’s current single, Lost The Fight. The track’s roar is unleashed on a snare of grooves and sonic temptation, their enticing bait laid on the more volatile but no less gripping lure of the rhythms. I Fight Bears have a multi-flavoured surge of sound at the heart of all songs and maybe none as compelling as that fuelling this very easy to devour proposal, especially as it grows more predatory by the minute.
Design And Purpose carries that intrusive intent into its following proposition, beats and bass a grumbling trespass soon bound in melodic strands with their own imposing touch. Vocals blast the mix with a raw emotive breath, the song a predacious assault before opening up its melodic dexterity as clean vocals again provide a superb contrast matched by the endeavour of the guitars. As imposing and catchy as its predecessors, the track is a just as inviting lead into the band and its sound, quickly matched in that quality by Life Of One. Another smart weave of styles and sound bound in an adventurous intent, the song a swift and increasing captivation epitomising the band’s craft in songwriting, performance, and imagination.
It is fair to say that next up Disposed did not grab our ears as dramatically as those before it, surprises less open yet it is a richly satisfying and intriguing encounter with vocals once more especially magnetic before Trust thrusts its rousing prowess through ears. Rhythms harry and punish the senses as raw vocals graze their surface, an appetite stirring mix only enhanced by the melodic and harmonic tenacity of guitars and the cleaner side of the two pronged vocal persuasion. Barbarous yet seductive, the song is superb and only escalates in captivation with every subsequent twist.
From the cantankerously wired Exhale, an incendiary slice of metal with a hardcore lining that is as irritable as it is infectious, and the senses crushing tempest of Smoking Gun, the album hits another high spot to rival its early plateau. Both songs are a cauldron of what the band does best and right to the fore of our favourite moments, their might leaving System a task to bring things to a just as potent close which it does with its own corrosive furnace of enterprise and power. The trio alone leave ears and pleasure full with a hunger for more in close attention.
With the realisation of their inescapable potential and a real vein of individuality, I Fight Bears could become a real presence within the broadest metal scene. Their thickly enjoyable first album already declares the band one exciting prospect on that British landscape.
The I Fight Bears album is out now.
Pete RingMaster 20/02/2018
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