I Fight Bears – ‘I Fight Bears’ (Lost Generation Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Phil Cooper   
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 04:00

I Fight Bears artworkapproved image lrg 2013Formed a little over two years ago, the five-piece from Bridgend have been noted as drawing upon influence from the likes of Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God. Next month sees the release of their self-titled debut album following a healthy buzz around singles ‘State’, ‘Believe in Me’ and most recently ‘Hammers’ and ‘Lost the Fight’. So, with weighty anticipation already in place and an ever growing fanbase courtesy of live performances, what does the debut have in store?

 

‘Hammers’ throws the first punch and if you didn’t catch the track on its initial release then it certainly comes as an excellent introduction to the bands sound. Their influences are clearly on show here, with Killswitch like vocal harmonies in the chorus and massive guitar riffs that feature a groove like rhythm throughout. The intoxicating groove laden riffs continue in ‘Envision’ another heavy hitting track, with punishing percussion and bass lines and throat tearing vocals. It’s easy to understand why these guys are able to build a fanbase from their live shows as the first two tracks alone illustrate that this is music made for a live crowd. From the head-bang inducing rhythm to the searing vocals, any crowd can easily get behind ‘Envision’ and it holds itself as a strong contender for the next single release.

 

Current single ‘Lost the Fight’ is an ear drum punishing metal tour de force. Once again, the guitar riffs are the hook and the vocal harmonies are well placed, however the main focal point is in the drums. Not only serving as the anchor for the track and driving force for the rhythm, the drums on ‘Lost the Fight’ provide the personality to the music. Taking a commanding position in the mix the double kick drum is relentless, and the snare attack punctuates the aggression of the song-writing. It encapsulates the sound that I Fight Bears are looking to convey.

 

 

Largely, this is a home studio self-recorded album with some outside input for the mixing and mastering, having said that this is no rough and ready homemade demo. The cohesion of the band is exemplified with the mixing of each of the ten tracks. The low-end highlights the power and intensity of the rhythm section as it should, yet compliments the mid and high ranges of the guitars and vocals. With the use of effects such as reverb on the vocal harmonies at select points serving to raise the impact of the vocals rather than muddy the punch that they have when cutting through the colossal wall of sound from the rest of the band. It could be all to easy to run riot with effects and recording studio trickery to boost the sound and end up overloading the delivery, however I Fight Bears certainly know exactly how they want to replicate their sound and know how to get it.

 

This is highlighted on ‘Disposed’. Sitting in the mid-point of the album this track provides an extra shot in the arm to the now established sound, within the chorus sections the vocals soar and the tremolo picking from the guitars creates an extremely catchy hook line. As the track builds the dynamic shifts between full throttle all out, to stripped back with less instrumentation and more emphasis on certain melodic sections. Following a well-constructed guitar solo the track comes back together and returns full force for a climactic close. ‘Disposed’ demonstrates the abilities on the quintet in both the studio and as musicians, it certainly provides a standout moment on the album.

 

There is no dull moment to be found within the ten tracks on offer here. With adrenaline coursing through every track from the likes of ‘Design & Purpose’, ‘Exhale’ and the pinched harmonic loaded ‘System’, there is no let up and it leaves the listener wanting more. From the opening riff to the closing snare hit, ‘I Fight Bears’ is not only an excellent debut album but also an excellent metal album all round. As a relatively young band, there is a lot of maturity in both the song writing and the aforementioned production, every instrument has a place but the overall sound is as cohesive as any band that has been together for ten years or more. Obviously, there is a whole new year stretching out before us, but this is certainly going to take some beating as an album. I suspect I Fight Bears will have much more to say in the near future and hopefully they’ll capitalise on this excellent debut.

 

‘I Fight Bears’ is released on 16 February. You can get your copy HERE.

 

I Fight Bears play Hobos in Bridgend, with Malum Sky and Icantdie, on Friday 16 February followed by Celtic Mosh 23, with Kinasis, Chaos Trigger, Among The Dead and We Come From Ashes, at EVi in Ebbw Vale on Friday 23 February.

 

www.facebook.com/ifightbearsband

 

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