"Bridear are writing their own book of heavy metal." Japan's heroes offer a unique spin on power metal with Born Again

Working with producer Fredrik Nordström, Bridear's fifth album highlights how the Japanese band are tackling trad metal

Bridear press pic 2024
(Image: © Press)

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Bridear are writing their own book of heavy metal on their fifth album. Musically, they’ve got more in common with the likes of Firewind than with Babymetal, but the all-female quintet from Fukuoka have nailed down a sound that is at once quintessentially Japanese and uniquely theirs. With producer Fredrik Nordström behind the mixing desk, the band once again excel at marrying NWOBHM and European power metal with infectious J-pop choruses. 

Still Burning’s crisp, sharp-edged guitar riffing opens the record with an urgent, grand statement of intent; Braver Words showcases Bridear’s knack for proggy breakdowns that give way to proper guitar-hero shredding from ‘Sukiyaki Sisters’ Ayumi and Moe. The album’s title track stands out for its sweet yet saccharine-free chorus, while Empty Mind boasts a delectable wall of sound. Fredrik Nordström’s mix could do with being a bit heftier, but Bridear’s songwriting is what makes Born Again such a solid album. 

Throughout, Bridear oscillate between these triumphant melodies and ferocious instrumentation, from the delicious bass grumble of Cult to No Angels’ punishing percussion. Real Is Real is reminiscent of Train Of Thought-era Dream Theater, while Scar Of Reunion satisfies the urge for a big, soaring, power metal vocal from frontwoman Kimi – though it could do with being higher in the mix. 

Full of great guitar licks that scratch an itch in your brain, Born Again culminates in an inspired duet with Dream Evil’s Nick Night on Die Like This that serves as its grand climactic moment, as it builds to an all-out power metal anthem. 

It’s not a particularly fashionable road that Bridear have gone down, but their devotion to no-frills heavy metal and compelling hooks has ultimately paid off once more, on an unabashedly authentic record that doesn’t outstay its welcome.

Born Again is out June 28 via Psychomanteum

BRIDEAR - Still Burning [Official music video] - YouTube BRIDEAR - Still Burning [Official music video] - YouTube
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