Tuesday 20 February 2018

I Fight Bears - I Fight Bears

Labels: Self-Released
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 16 Feb 2018


1. Hammers
2. Envision
3. Lost The Fight
4. Design & Purpose
5. Life Of One
6. Disposed
7. Trust
8. Exhale
9. Smoking Gun
10. System

Here's the debut self-titled album from Bridgend's I Fight Bears. Bridgend is the Welsh town that gave birth to two of the UK’s most well-known post-hardcore and metal bands, Funeral For A Friend and Bullet For My Valentine, so heavy music's pretty safe there already. I Fight Bears formed about two years ago and have been playing plenty of gigs in and around South Wales since. With their debut album, they're hoping to reach wider audiences with a sound that takes influence from some of modern metal's leading lights. 

“I Fight Bears” begins with loads of energy with opening song Hammers. They’ve got plenty of big instrumentation, harsh roars and clean vocals providing more than a nod to the bands that have influenced them. It’s a very polished start to the record. On Envision, I Fight Bears begin to show their more technical side, with more progressive song-writing and a scorching solo. They are pretty damn good at writing thrash inspired metal as well. Lost The Fight is testament to that with razor-sharp guitar and a grittiness that’s hard to miss, especially when the screams are at their peak. It reminds me of the modern European metal created by Stabbing The Drama-era Soilwork. 

One thing that this record does do as Design & Purpose rings out, is remind me of how much my own tastes in metal have changed over the years and how the constant search for unique takes on the genre have lead me away from bands like I Fight Bears. I’m not saying they’re bad, in fact far from it but I feel that their full potential is yet to be realised. That being said, Life Of One goes in a different direction and gathers elements of both post-hardcore and metal to create something that’s more melodic and soaring. It’s really enjoyable. As they launch into the second half of “I Fight Bears”, the more introspective side of the band are evident on Disposed, which again is a big soaring catchy number. There’s a more chaotic and raging vibe to Trust, especially in the verses and the dual-guitar melodies are cracking throughout. 

Exhale is the longest song on the record and again I Fight Bears fill it with thrashing metalcore-like sounds that make it impossible to sit still through. The comparisons to them and Killswitch Engage are made in their press release and on Smoking Gun, the comparison isn’t far off at all. It’s a real skill to be able to get the listeners full attention this close to the end of an album but I Fight Bears do so really well. This song has got everything that’s good about modern metal. Closing song System follows suit and gains momentum to help the record end on a massive high. “I Fight Bears” is both polished and precise and while that will help it appeal to a wider audience, there’s still room for I Fight Bears to raise the bar on future releases as they grow and mature as a band. The potential is most certainly there but they need to find their true sound. 

"I Fight Bears" is available digitally on all of the major outlets, though curiously not bandcamp as of yet.

You can watch the video for opening track and first single Hammers below:-

CD copies of the album can be purchased here - https://ifightbears.bandcamp.com/merch

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