If I said Blackened Southern Progdeath, would that ring you a bell?
Nothing? Neither happens to me.
Personally, the first thing that came to my mind was a stupid teenage band who plays shitty Dream Theater covers in a more blackened key and they just had to forge a new sub-genre for the useless crap they do. But, truth is that I was terribly wrong. What a relief.
Bearstorm‘s Americanus is definitely a neat piece of work. Enjoyable and well crafted, released by the Maryland-based label Grimoire Records, who is releasing some cool stuff lately.
As the album kicks in we found Glacial Relic/Riparian Forest (we’ll find the part II of Glacial Relic as ending track, but I will be back on it later). The song starts with a legato/tapping guitar riff (it will be a constant in this album, though) that recalls me of Wolfmother‘s Joker and The Thief starting riff.
Only the very first few notes overlaps, though, but it was quite funny to remember that tune. (Ok, nobody gave a fuck about that)
The very big influence I heard on Americanus is Protest The Hero’s Fortress. A vortex of intriguing riffs, and they never sound predictable, with solid drums and an audible bass playing (the bass is very present and upfront, and I love it) are running along a “double-faced” vocal, alternating both high-pitched harsh screaming (that’s why they define themselves “blackened”, I suppose) and low guttural growling. I love this latter ones, full-bodied and shameless, while I cannot say so for the harsh screams, they’re good but a way too filtered, even if they have the right power to inflame the listener and give the record even more variety.
Wandering through this record is a lot of fun. There are several good moments as well as exciting parts. Very good is the guitars work, as I said before a lot of riffs are legato/tapping driven, flawlessly crafted by the two “axe holders”: Kelsey Miller and Greg Bates.
I really found myself enjoying and banging my head at each track, but if I’ve to name my favourite ones, as usual, I’d pick Why We Can’t Have Nice Things for its badass motif and the absolute head crushing bridge with the singer Michael Edwards screaming the hell out of himself. Ooh fuck, how exciting this part is!
But the overall best number hits with the name of Glacial Relic II: we are brought in with a proggy tapping intro (oh, you were already expecting it, weren’t you?) into the most complex composition of this album. But the best is yet to come! Near the very end we encounter this amazing (almost happy) melody that gently brings us to the closure.
I’d lie if I said that I haven’t enjoyed this one. Probably it won’t be the next milestone of the world’s metal music but if you just wanna have fun with something fresh, pleasing and good to be listened in almost every moment (my advice is to play them while you’re driving, you’ll understand why…) I can only suggest you Bearstorm’s Americanus. And again, if you like technical music but you dislike technical rigidity as an end in itself this is definitely your album!
1. Glacial Relic \ Riparian Forest
2. De Soto
3. Little Portals to the Greater Sadness
4. Why we can’t have nice things
5. Glacial Relic II
Protest The Hero – Fortress (Canada, 2008)
Barbelith – Mirror Unveiled (USA, 2015)