December 9, 2016

Bearstorm - Biophobia

By Matt Hinch. Remember when Kvelertak sort of blew minds with their combination of black metal vocals and mostly hardcore music? Given their recent output it's getting harder to remember the impact of that first album. But if you liked that idea in principal how about black metal vocals over prog/sludge?
By Matt Hinch.

Artwork by Karl Dahmer.

Remember when Kvelertak sort of blew minds with their combination of black metal vocals and mostly hardcore music? Given their recent output it's getting harder to remember the impact of that first album. But if you liked that idea in principal how about black metal vocals over prog/sludge? Well, it's hard to say “over” as the vocals sit mid-mix but that's what you get from Bearstorm and their second Grimoire release, Biophobia.

The album is listed at five songs but the opener (“Dawn Chorus”) is just nature sounds and “Agaric Catechism” is three minutes of instrumentation that serves little purpose outside a brain reset. Hey, gotta have at least one beef, right?

On the album's other three tracks we get the aforementioned black metal vocals as a voice to dynamic sludge cut with enough progressive edges that it hardly feels like sludge at all. The title track features a nice headbanging pace with doubled triplets (duhduhduh-duhduhdhuh, you know what I mean) giving the track the velocity it needs. There's also a pretty noisy solo, a bass solo, and the beginnings of the prog realms Bearstorm venture deeper into later.

Later as in the next track, “Cravers of a Second Birth”. This one is all over the map in a good way. Riffs continuously spill over into each other, mixing technicality with power, a dark vibe, and fancy fretwork. There's even a big, doomy part to ground things a little amid another bass solo and a skittering, insane feeling. It covers a lot of ground over 6:44.

Not quite as much as on closer “Cryptobiotic Filth Destroyer” though. Since I can't understand the slavering black metal rasps all the time you can draw your own conclusions about the tracks's lyrical content. The vocals are relatively sparse however, as long instrumental passages dominate this one. Rolling thunder riffs with explosive crashes, a building tension, and a delicate, melodic movement where Bearstorm really flex their prog muscles that moves into the payoff you're waiting for comprise the EPs final statement.

Coming in at under 25 minutes the EP isn't as epic as their previous full lengths and the short run time is definitely felt despite the track lengths. Being on Grimoire it comes as no surprise that it sounds great too. Biophobia serves as a nice reminder of what the Richmond, VA product can deliver. Don't be afraid.

Tagged with 2016, Bearstorm, black metal, Grimoire Records, Matt Hinch, progressive death metal
1 comment:
  1. Except for a few singers out there, vocals are the least exciting part of Black Metal.

    ReplyDelete