Bear – ///

As the list of essential 2017 releases already looks like it has the potential of being a substantial one establishing itself at the head is the third album from Belgian metallers Bear. Primarily tagged as math/technical metal, the Antwerp based quartet swiftly show within their new intrusive roar that their sound is a kaleidoscope of imposing flavours. Within the release hefty strains of everything from progressive and heavy metal to nu-metal , hardcore, and metalcore accost the imagination It is a ravenous web aligned to more voracious grooves than found within most lifetimes of similar genre participants and one hellacious treat of a trespass for ears, senses, and pleasure.

Formed in 2010, Bear awoke attention with their self-released 5 track EP Abstractions; its initial success continued through a digital release with Conspiracy Records and a full re-release via Let It Burn Records who followed that up by uncaging debut album Doradus in 2011. At the same time, the band was invading the UK with their raw sound, touring there with While She Sleeps while headlining their local festivals while the year after the album’s release they went on to support the likes of Periphery and entice major plaudits with appearances at  festivals such as Euroblast and Groezrock. Signing with Basick Records in 2013 brought second album Noumenon into greater acclaim whilst live a trio of UK tours with The Colour Line, Black Dogs and Carcer City and further festival triumphs only helped to firmly establish the outfit within the European metal scene.

The biggest spotlight is now sure to be tempted with the release of ///, from its claw slashed title to its ursine assault of sound, the album is an inescapable beast of character, aggression, and invention mauling the listener from its first breath with opener Blackpool. Its first gasp brings a senses eroding surge of guitar and Maarten Albrechts’ furious vocals, a colossal onslaught weighted further by the lethal swings of drummer Serch Carriere and the grievous tone of Dries Verhaert’s bass. As the corrosive tide continues scything riffs and squalling grooves escape the already impressing exploits of guitarist Leander Tsjakalov, his creative weave in turn sparking greater variety in the vocal roar of Albrechts and band. Like a blend of Meshuggah, Slipknot, and Society 1, the song bullies and seduces, opening up more unpredictable twists and compelling exploits with every passing wave of imagination.

The tremendous start continues with Hounds, its primal and rhythmically dynamic entrance enough alone to grip ears, the subsequent net of grooves and technical espionage as well as continuing vocal variety an ever tightening vice of creative temptation. With lighter but just as dirty heavy rock hues adding to the raw infectiousness, the track snarls and ferociously dances with the senses; bruising and teasing them before the band’s latest single Masks emerges from its own dusty smog with a Rob Zombie-esque stomp soon sharing invasive grooves amidst a dissonant cauldron of technical and off-kilter ingenuity. Whereas its predecessors pretty much tore at the senses, Masks taunts and flirts, if with instinctive rapacity and ruthless persistence. Every second is a tempest of intrigue and adventure, each moment a ravishment of ears leaving sheer greed for more in its wake.

It is a hunger swiftly fed and further provoked by Childbreaker, the song initially a blaze of intensity with waspish grooves buzzing around brawly rhythms but soon exploding into an invasive tempest of attitude and barbarous sound though still a storm bound in a virulent infectiousness as devious as the ferocity around it. Predatory in every aspect, the track devours with every breath, a quality no less forceful within next up Knives Are Easy and its maelstrom of technical and instinctively quarrelsome enterprise. The combined creative voracity of Tsjakalov and Verhaert is seemingly encouraged by the irritable jabs of Carriere and Albrechts’ grizzly tones and just as intrusive when the charge turns into a prowling examination of the listener. It is a stalking which cannot sustain its lust for long, the song ending on the same assertive thrust it began with.

The Oath entangles the senses in its own agitated and kinetic almost gladiatorial frenzy next, harmonies and melodic seduction enticing from within the cyclonic ambush and having their own moment of inescapable persuasion like a warm oasis at the eye of an increasingly psychotic storm. With every element combined, it is a fearsome bewitchment with the animalistic growl of bass irresistible, delicious bait continuing as 7 strolls into view carrying a maze of meandering anxious grooves and sonic psychosis. Becoming more brutal and intense with each passing moment, it equally breeds a captivation of harmonic and melodic seduction, the union of extremes as catchy as it is wanton. The song is a helter-skelter of invention and craft, fiercely glorious leaving exhausted ears in bliss and easy prey for the slow menacing prowl of instrumental Klank before Raw has them consumed in another eddy of feverish craft and unbridled discord abound with swirling contrasts and volatile textures all woven into one mouth-watering dispute.

The album is completed by the just as argumentative and creatively pugnacious Construct.Constrict and finally the physically and emotionally subversive Adjust.Adapt. As distinct in nature and body as they are united in bristling attitude and laying a sanguinary touch upon the senses, the pair stretch and open up new realms in the Bear sound; the closing song especially charming in its harmonious siren-esque heart within another truculent body.

There is simply no weak spot within ///, not even a moment when the album slips a foot let alone falls from of very early established pedestal. Quite simply the album and indeed Bear for newcomers is a must!!

/// is out now through Basick Records across most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bear – Noumenon


Just when you think maybe you have heard the best the year has to offer, along comes a band like Bear to grip the imagination and passions by the throat, shake them rigorously until sense shows its teeth and then seduce to an even greater degree with sonic alchemy which leaves exhaustion and lust bred satisfaction raging rewards. Noumenon is the second album from the Belgium quartet, a release which ignites and fuses synapses with its bordering on psychotic mathcore and technical devilry. It has been a highly anticipated release but goes far beyond hopes and expectations those appetites will have had lying in wait, quite simply Noumenon is demonic genius.

Formed in 2010, the Antwerp-based foursome of vocalist Maarten Albrechts, guitarist Leander Verheyen Tsjakalov, bassist Dries Verhaert, and drummer Serch Carriere carve out new potent levels and mind altering creative temptations with their new album. Taking all the essences which have been spawned through previous releases starting with their self-released 5 track MCD Abstractions in their formative year, the band lends it to a greater corrosive and intensively invigorating scorching of the senses. Debut album Doradus of 2011 was the major seed which led to such a hunger for the new release along with its first single Wreckthings which preceded it. Both ignited the appetite and acclaim of media and fans worldwide and were followed by Bear stepping into bigger sized venues and recognition with shows alongside the likes of Periphery and within festivals such as Euroblast, Eierfest, and Groezrock. Released by Basick Records, Noumenon stalks and torments a new plateau of adventure and caustic brilliance to potentially steal end of year honours with insidious accomplishment and sinister ingenuity.

Opening track Boxer lurks in a reserved mist only allowing a singular guitar coaxing to wrap its tendril around the ear. It is soon Packshot 1500x1500welcoming a second strand of melodic acidity, again restrained and gentle in its touch though behind it there is a brewing presence and sinister electronic breath. Suddenly the song explodes into a tsunami of energy, rhythms cracking viciously on the ear whilst the guitars score and sear flesh though spirals of sonic fire and senses splicing corrosive predation. The vocals equally cut and scar though at times offering great melodic and harmonic mercury which makes for a mesmeric mellow union. The track is best described as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Kabul Golf Club meets Converge and The Fall Of Troy, though that only gives a whisper of the unique tempest of sound and invention working voraciously away and the psyche.

The brilliant start is soon matched by Mirrors, the track going straight for the jugular with crippling rhythms and bass rapaciousness coring another furnace of sonic irreverence and imagination soiling enterprise. Once again the vocals ignore predictability to squall and brawl within the song with the same passion and menacing invention as the sounds. Whether raging with antagonism or soothing the wound with harmonic craft, the vocals like the music are an evolving never settling torrent of flavours and energy. Across the track a punk scourge seems to tone the attack though it is just a spice to the unbridled twists of stance, technical conjuring, and time shifts. Like the album the song brings mathcore into a noise, djent, progressive metal maelstrom and emerges as something simply Bear.

Both Rain and The Falling Line snarl and spit out carnivorous toxicity which only seduces to greater depths, the first crafting an anthemic call to its venom and aggression whilst the second tunnels its way into the brain and stakes its territory with sonic weaves of twisted guitar animosity from within a wall of donkey punch raps upon the senses from the drums drawing unavoidable submission. Both are outstanding instigators of the passions and though debatably many of the tracks need a concentrated focus to discover all their nuances against each other, it is a rewarding endeavour which only increases the thrill of being the prey to the album’s hunt.

Mantiis unleashes a groove which is pure addiction, a hard rock teasing tightening its grip whilst vocally and through its contagion there is a familiarity which defines realisation as to the source. A major pinnacle of the album, the track is a storm of crescendos and climactic sonic insults which steals the breath and ardour with ease whilst laying down bait which lingers long after its passing of the fire to Aconite, a track starting with a somber invitation to emerge cobra like, swaying and growing its height into a hypnotic influence with a lethal acidic toxin and danger clad persuasion. The Fat Dukes of Fuck like in its diablerie, the track keeps Noumenon at its lofty height with grandeur and accomplished ease.

Through Centrefold and The Human Thing, the release and Bear strike with new ridiculously compelling and virulent suasion, the first of the two a mugging of the senses through a swarming attack which rather than picking certain targets just consumes and pressures in a blanket of intensity and creative sonic pestilence. There is a delicious blackened breath to the encroachment too whilst a Meshuggah like carnality of guitars and rhythms simply induces total slavery for its intensive landscape. Its successor is bred from the same beast and admittedly without attention the two can merge into each other but again the track is a bestial rabidity which leaves only exhausted pleasure in its tow.

Completed by the waspish swarming of L.A. Layer which chews and stings across its sultry atmosphere and inferno like landscape, and the wonderfully rabid and dramatically metallic Postbreaks where the chorus reminds of Sepultura though it’s a passing growl in one more fire-pit of an inventive scourge of sound, Noumenon is a riveting and senses frazzling treat which will demand contention in the awards giving come December and from a great many take titles.


RingMaster 08/10/2013


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