Bear: Noumenon

Belgian mathcore crew hand in their copied homework

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It’s ironic that mathcore started as a response to the generic nature of heavy music yet now is as formulaic as any other subgenre. Bear are a case in point. Noumenon ticks all the tech-metal boxes, adds a bit of brutish groove and nothing more. So rather than being astounded by their technical ability and taming of odd time signatures, as you may have been a decade ago, you simply nod along to their now familiar mix of djent(y) metallic hardcore.

It’s a shame that they can only really be appraised, and therefore dwarfed, next to such heady pioneers as The Dillinger Escape Plan or Drowningman. There are excellent moments here and Mirros and Aconite pack as much of a punch as impressive newbies like Heart Of A Coward, but it sounds tame compared to what you’ve heard before.

Bear are in the position of being too maddening for Hatebreed fans and not unique enough to overthrow Messhuggah. They’re not terrible but they lack their own personality and musical ideas.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.