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Bear - /// album review

Brutal Belgians unleash more multi-textured, math mayhem

Cover art for Bear - /// album

The third full-length from these Antwerp math-metal extremists is a twisted melange of unbridled menace and startling melody. Sounding like the bastard offspring of Meshuggah and Converge, the four-piece deliver the kind of dizzying intricacies and mutant grooves guaranteed to have tech-metal aficionados frothing at the mouth. Vitriolic barks give way to a barrage of clattering, stop-start riffs on opener Blackpool whilst the infectious hooks and djentle flourishes coursing through shapeshifters Hounds and The Oath will confuse and compel in equal measure. There’s a Psychosocial-era Slipknot feel to the stomping bassline of Masks, but in no way does such a comparison diminish any credibility; it’s impossible to resist a track so filth-laden that you’ll require an immediate scrubbing upon listening. On the album’s second half, Bear dial up the requisite savagery, from the collision of dissonant fretwork and polyrhythms to sense-withering chaos. The hulking dirge of instrumental Klank sounds like a hellish descent into the abyss. Bear will melt your face off – and you’ll thank them for it.