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 welcoming 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.
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