Bear – /// (Review)

BearBear are a Belgian metal band and this is their third album.

Okay, so the album cover and band name pretty much sum up what this sounds like – you’re gonna get mauled.

This is a balanced offering of complex technical math metal and muscular, taut modern metal. It’s well-written, well-performed and unleashed on the world in about 40 minutes of violent impulses.

Normally a modern technical metal band like this is ultra-polished, very sparkly and sometimes quite plastic-sounding as a result. Bear are different, as they’re a much grittier proposition. The band’s musical vision is filtered through a savage mix of Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, while still having a controlled, more-conventional aspect to their music that recalls someone like Devil You Know.

This combination of technical/mathcore and a more accessible quality means that the songs on /// really shine. They demonstrate a great combination of extremity and harshness, but mixed with a catchy sensibility that still somehow manages to avoid being as overtly commercial or shiny as a lot of their more well-presented peers.

I instantly took to this band, as although they have the ultra-modern sound nailed down, it’s a less polished, more underground and generally more severe version of it. Even the catchier parts of their music still have a darker appearance. This is way more Blood Has Been Shed than Killswitch Engage.

I like the band’s ability to effectively combine massively heavy riffs, complex technical elements, brutal workouts and memorable vocals into their sound. This is coherent enough to appeal to metalcore fans, but complex and involved enough to also appeal to people that like more depth, nuance and individuality in their music too.

With a firm emotive content that exists alongside the crushing music, the songs on /// are very impressive. Most bands playing this kind of thing usually go for the more extreme Ion Dissonance tear-everything-down approach, or maybe for the still-heavy, but wider-appealing nature of a band like Periphery. Bear are a happy medium of the two extremes, combining the catchy appeal of the latter with the heavy nastiness of the former.

Phew. What a listen.

Bear have seriously impressed.

Check this out.

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