Bridgend’s I Fight Bears have been touted as ones to watch by a variety of metal-based publications. Their name alone piques interest, conjuring images of burly men, wielding a variety of heavy weapons. In fact, that’s exactly what the band are.
The band’s debut, self-titled album has the rugged and brutal sound found exclusively on early 2000s metal acts such as fellow countrymen Bullet for My Valentine. From headbanging chugs to dizzying solos, this album shows off some real talent from every member. ‘Disposed’ displays this most efficiently, packaging every metal trop you can think of into a neat, five minute long package.
In fact, every song on this album displays tropes of metal. For all the band’s incredible musicianship, there seems to be a lack of variety across this album. Pretty much every song is formulaic and predictable, starting with a growl from lead singer Dan Blackmore, into some fast chugs with a backdrop of blast beats, topped off by a couple of verses, a Killswitch Engage sounding chorus, and a ripping solo. This copy and paste feel is perhaps the sole feature that lets I Fight Bears down as an album. As a band, however, there is little to fault.
With their influences on their sleeves, I Fight Bears have crafted a great homage album that lacks in originality. It’s impossible to call them out on their ability, as each member brings some real, raw talent to the field. For a debut, it’s a solid effort, but there are some boundaries that could be pushed in the future. [5/10]
I Fight Bears is out 16th February on Lost Generation Records.