The impressively named heavy metal quintet I Fight Bears have arrived with their eponymous debut album, and despite the charm of their title, it’s not all fun and games. The Welsh group have been garnering praise from the alternative press since 2016 with their brand of heavy yet catchy metal, and now they’ve come to try and secure their place in the busy sea of metalcore acts.
‘Lost The Fight’ is a shining example of the band at their best. Opening with a ferocious series of chugging riffs and thrashing screams, it’s a scorching tune with a nice balance of both heavy verses and earworm choruses. Fans of bands such as Killswitch Engage will feel right at home with the way they combine complex winding guitar sections with blast-beat drums as much as the soaring cleans that follow throughout.
It’s not all this impressive though. Some tracks on the album feel a bit too much like they run on a formula of the genre’s tropes that have built up over the last decade, but with varying degrees of success. ‘Life Of One’ features repeated clean vocals that are more grating than they had to be. While ‘Trust’ feels a little exhaustive with it’s stream of cyclical guitar melodies.
It absolutely comes from a place of love for the metalcore culture though, and on a technical level, the quintet really show off their individual talents. Album opener ‘Hammers’ shows off vocalist Dan Blackmore’s impressive range of screams and energy as a frontman, with an ever memorable “let’s go!” that immediately cements the band’s sound. There’s a seemingly endless catalogue of bass grooves, guitar rhythms and crushing drum parts on this album that all convey the emotional themes that pervade it.
Not every song here is a clear pugilistic bear-battling banger, but it’s a solid effort with occasional misfires that show a lot of potential for I Fight Bears’ future.
‘I Fight Bears’ by I Fight Bears is released on 16th February on Lost Generation Records.
Words by Sam Seaton.