Huge in Japan, there seems little doubt that Bridear will be a global conquering act within a very few years as the rest of the world catches up with their home country. The five-piece from Fukuoka has been working hard to build their career over the past decade, honing their skills on a routine of regular touring and a string of increasingly massive albums.
Bridear – Aegis of Athena (Setsuzoku Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Spreading their wings ever wider with a schedule that has seen them hitting more and more countries, their last album Bloody Brides was their first to receive an international release. From that point onwards, things started to truly blow up.
The next move after this was going to be a vital one and Aegis Of Athena is their answer. It’s safe to say that they’ve pulled out all the stops and when an album kicks off with its longest track, the epic Side Of A Bullet you know they’re making a statement.
As an opening salvo, this absolutely roars with life, their multi-layered approach the epitome of J-Rock turned up to 10. Frantic riffing, a torrent of drums and bass and the sweet but spiky vocals along with some growls, this captures that unique sound that somehow mixes Thrash Metal, Tech Metal and pop.
Preference is loaded with dynamics, the interplay between guitarists Misaki and Ayumi a barrage of absolute ferocity as the pair tear into their fretboards. Things get a little lighter, but not much, on Greed, leaning more into the territory that t.a.T.u. covered but with an injection of fire and gasoline. There are still the heavy and pounding rhythms alongside the blazing guitars but there’s also more of a feel-good feeling to the whole, the upbeat sensibilities sliced through with razor-sharp shards of Metal.
The gorgeous and soaring With Me and the delicious harmonies on Determination also show a further side of the band before Ray Of Chaos sees them dipping into a more traditional ’80s and ’90s old school Metal. With its gleaming production, it’s one of the most compelling tracks on the album and one that has arguably the widest appeal.
The oddly named The Bathtub mixes the bright vocals of singer Kami with the low growls of bass player Haru to great effect, the instrumentation joyously bouncing, weaving and darting throughout. The heavy and relentless Lodestar has key elements of the destructive force of Slayer but then adds the J-Rock melody into the blend as drummer Natsumi reduces her kit to splinters.
Past In Emerald tears along in an explosion of sound and colour before another epic in the form of Brave New World Revisited explodes from the speakers. A massive Tech-Metal monster, this is a rush of adrenaline that hits some nosebleed-inducing highs, as well as some, fathom deep swoops, the band showing their quicksilver dexterity. Partway through, a more sedate section is the calm after the storm and is imbued with a sense that the danger has passed before some Iron Maiden style riffing kicks in and leads to the song’s climax.
The album closes with the blistering Road’ the drive and playing leaving the listener breathless.
With Aegis Of Athena, Bridear have completed the next stage of their evolution and it’s one that should further crack things wide open for them. Resistance is futile.