Bear VS. Rhino
Vulture Song is available via:
Beck up, Back up– 8.8/10.0
A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is– 9.2
If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead– 9.1
Milli80seconds:publicist; A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is; If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead
13 July, 2014
VULTURE SONG WAS WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY:
Bear VS. Rhino
BEAR VS. RHINO ARE:
Bass + Vox
Guitar + Vox
MIXED AND MASTERED BY:
Ensuring London’s music remains some of the U.K.’s finest, Bear VS. Rhino provide a scintillating and memorable E.P. Vulture Song is an attacking bird of prey- it picks at the bones and hovers with menacing intent. For those bridling at the thought of ‘just another Hardcore/Alternative band’, have faith- these boys provide plenty of wit, heart and composure. Capable of exciting future festival stages, they are a band who do not linger in the shadows; they rule in the spotlight
HAVING experienced a technological comeback worthy of Lazarus…
I am unexpectedly back reviewing- much sooner than I would have predicted. This eventuality has trained my mind to the issue of benevolence and kindness. In the coming weeks I am working with a stunning singer: an artist putting a band together that is a serious name to watch. Having approached said singer- I will not reveal her name as to jinx any future movements- complimenting her voice and artistry, she approached me with an intriguing possibility: the chance to manage her career and help her with her first steps. It is always great to see eager young musicians come through; inspired and rallied by support and patronage- reaching out and embracing. Embarking on new possibilities and excitement, I am looking forward to getting stuck in- putting together plans and ideas for a wonderful new talent. This may all sound ineloquent and off-topic, but it brings me around to music itself. The artists that reach out and unite with fans- and potential supporters- are those that will merit the greatest acclaim and long-term respect. In my capacity as reviewer- at the moment guerilla, part-time reviewer- it is terrific hearing bands and artists come to me- take the chance to write and promote their music. Not sensing an easy chance for acclaim and ego-boosts, the musicians are keen for their music to be given an in-depth analysis and study. For me, it provides opportunity to delve into new music and sensational sounds; discover acts that I would otherwise not hear of- help passionate and striking youngsters get their sounds heard by a wider audience. This passion and reciprocity has inspired the music on show- the very best and most fervent are those that genuinely want to bring in the audience; take the trouble to get ears and eyes focused. My featured act is throwing their hats into a pretty busy and colourful ring- one populated by a huge amount of competitors and performers. Bear VS. Rhino promise all the battles, conflict and energy (their moniker suggests). Critics have been setting their sights on their terrific endeavours; seeking out as much (of their) music as possible- the feedback and praise has been sensational. Being a fairly new and sapling act, they are not getting too comfortable and assured- their latest E.P. suggests a band that are vital and endlessly passionate- the inventiveness and energy (they whip up) is as urgent and raw as any out there. Before I introduce the band, it is worth looking back at the band market; looking at the variation and contrasts that are on offer- what the hungry and open-minded listener has to choose from. Being in a unique position- where I have the chance to help promote and proffer a wonderful new act- I am looking out at the competition; the other newbies making their voices heard. There are few genres unaccounted for: whatever your tastes, loves and proclivities- there is a musician out there for you. Variations of shades of themes are recontoured and revised; the core sound tweaked and fiddled with- how much originality and surprise are we being given? It is an interesting point that has no easy answer- the word ‘original’ is a fungible and ill-defined term. To be truly original- and retain unimpeachable quality- is next-to-impossible- that does not mean you cannot be distinct and unique. The bands and acts that stay with me the longest; resonate in the imagination- they are the ones that do not lazily cling onto predictable expectations. Bear VS. Rhino are a vital group of lads that hit the jugular and provide immense force and style- music that strikes the heart and head. Before I continue, let me introduced our featured act:
“Hello we’re Bear VS Rhino. We’re an alternative hardcore rock band from London, a noisy 3 piece, with Markus and Carlo up front on bass, guitar and vocals, and Daniel behind on drums. We’ve being going for about 18 months, cultivating our own sound, an interesting blend of sound which we love, for fans of Rueben, Deftones, Biffy Clyro, Code Orange Kids, mayors of Miyazaki and the Melvins. But how did all this come to be, I hear you ask. Bear VS Rhino started after Markus decided he’d had enough of being a solo folk artist. Markus met Nico, Markus and Nico clicked, Nico introduced Carlo, who is awesome, if not a Japanese bass playing lesbian. Nico decided London sucked and moved away to become a farmer. Before Nico left, Bear VS Rhino recorded their first EP, Fake, Fake, Fake, and the single Goddamn Motherfucking Panda Bear and perform their first and last show with Nico at Nambucca on Holloway Road which is now gone. Bear VS Rhino needed a drummer, so we borrowed Ed for Johnny can’t dance (RIP) and Dom from Boston Departure Lounge ( now back up and running) before Daniel joined and played the Miller in London bridge, the first gig in this current line-up of Bear VS Rhino and now we reside in a shipping container in Aldgate East where we rehearse, write and sweat, mainly sweat. The band are taking their noisy brand of alternative rock metal ruckus around London, playing everywhere from The Finsbury to the 12 bar to the New Cross Inn to O2 Academy, playing their cotton socks off and becoming the best gosh darn band they can. All of which has lead to this, Vulture song, the next EP to be released by Bear VS Rhino. We hope you dig you lucky motherfuckers.”
Not too many acts are presenting Hardcore and Alternative hardness- going out on a limb and trying to take the breath away. It is a hard mixture to cement; not obviously the most melodic blend of sounds, many can be put off from the start- that is not to say every act (who play this type of music) are divisive. Bear VS. Rhino may have bonkers and pretty silly song titles, but it is part of their charm and humour- if you want traditional and normal, then you may have to go elsewhere. They are pretty down-to-earth and likeable- a group that want to connect with as many people as they can. In an industry where there is too much safety and expected movements, it is nice to hear a band break away from the mould- offer music that is distinctly theirs; hard to compare with anyone else. Their E.P. Vulture Song is one of the most scintillating and electrifying of the moment; it has resonated hard with reviewers and fans- all entranced by the strange beauty and vitriolic potency. The next few months will see us end 2014: looks ahead to the next year and what it has in store. It is hard to predict the bands and acts that will be embraced- there seems to be so much diversity and inconsistency (I am stumped really). In my opinion, the best music of 2015 will be that which breaks away from the mainstream mediocrity- showcases inventiveness and personality of the highest distinction. Bear VS. Rhino certainly have their own voice; songs that will stick in the memory- projections that are hard to ignore and shake off. They are gathering great pace and praise at the moment; their E.P. is garnering some tremendous respect and feedback- it is not hard to see why. Even if you are not a fan of the Hardcore genre, you will find much to recommend- the boys provide ample passion melody and depth. Given all of this- and my conversations with the band- I was eager to investigate Vulture Song– see just what the intrepid. The results are certainly impressive; the songs sit inside your brain and cling on- they are a young act that has serious intentions indeed.
It is worth looking back at Bear VS. Rhino’s early movements. Their E.P. Fake Fake Fake dropped in May 2013- the first chance for the public to witness the band’s studio cuts. More restrained and less ambitious than current works, they marked impressive beginning. Useless possesses soft beginnings; it is quite funky and seductive. The vocal performance is louche and sexualized- mixing in some Jim Morrison mixed with Ian Drury. As the composition builds and builds (bit by bit), the track gains momentum and energy- the percussion is heavy and rumbling. Electric scream comes in (and starts to become more demented). The song is a bit of a tease in that it never explodes or catches fire- the lines and elements are all kept in check. The track remains a concrete and gripping number that showcases a unique and distinct band. Linseed Oil is a smooth and gentle thing. Distinct accents and evocative lyrics stand the track to attention. With the bass coming in to steal some of the honours, the song has humour and cutting-edge remarks. Matching slurred and masculine vocals into their palette, the boys present another take on their distinct artistry. GDMF Panda Bear came along in August 2013- it saw the boys notch up the volume and crank up the offensive. Whereas their debut E.P. seems a little safe; not willing to let the lungs reach out and rapture- here there was development for sure. Harder and more biting; the necessary edge and grit is all present. Compositional tones are more Punk-edged and ecstatic; the London trio started to make a real mark. I would say their current offerings are their strongest yet. While their early material has promise and potential, their full Hardcore potential was not realised- on a few numbers they sounded too limited and honed-in. Although Vulture Song has some berserk and peculiar moments, it is honed and focused- the lads have ensured every song remains tight and sensible. Whereas a lot of Hardcore bands are as predictable and ambitious as crap, Bear VS. Rhino inject something unique into the genre- it is much-needed given the slew of banal and pointless examples. Not all of their moments are feral and carnivorous- in fact they present more passion and composure (into the E.P.) than anything else. The band has not compromised any of their ethics and reputations- they have simply improved their music and developed with necessary (and pleasing) aplomb. Given their rate of growth and mutation, it is clear they will be making some serious moves in the future. Vulture Song is a hugely impressive work- yet I feel Bear VS. Rhino have not hit their peak yet. Among the stunning mandates are some rough edges and loose moments- things that can be tightened and improved on their next release. Saying that, they do not need be to tell them how good they are- the wave of adulation that has come in (for Vulture Song) has been staggering. There is plenty in their armoury to set them aside from their peers- ensure that few listeners will ignore their freshest movements. With elements and hints of their heroes- including Biffy Clyro- the London boys are on a charge- determined to nestle with the finest musicians of 2015. It is clear the trio have a very distinct way of working; a sound and sense of direction that incorporates a number of different bands- very much based around their ideals and styles. It will be great to see what Bear VS. Rhino have to offer in the coming year- whether they keep improving the quality; stick with the sounds of Vulture Song; ramp up the volume and intensity even further. Who knows, hey? It is great to hear them sound more alive and vital (than their tender days); the confidence has increased and multiplied- the performances are tighter and more fascinating; layered and nuanced.
When it comes to finding like-minded acts- that have inspired Bear VS. Rhino- there are a few that come to mind. Rueben are a band that has compelled the London trio. In Nothing We Trust (is the best album comparison). The band has not garnered a lot of critical praise and reviews- their early work was largely overlooked by larger publications. Their 2007 work was seen as a damning rebuke- a glorious swansong. The music- on the album- broke new ground for the band; they ensure song structure and proficiency is as high as possible- considerations that were missed from their early work. Whilst sapling work stuck with rigid formats and simplistic arrangements, it was on In Nothing We Trust the band started to experiment and expand- lengthening tracks and becoming more musically ambitious. The trademark aggressive remained intact and firm; the band augmented the force and rabble with some excellent and captivating vocal harmonies- offering something softer and more melodic. Anger and loss sat with themes of sadness and dislocation- quite new ground for Rueben. Bear VS. Rhino instill these contradictions and qualities into their music- they have managed to ensure Vulture Song is rife with emotional balance and surprises; plenty of structure and surprise- that sense of engagement and drama. In Nothing We Trust saw lyrically maturity come into effect: the band sounded more responsible and grown up; aware of the need to step up their game- whilst keeping their solid and pulverising foundations complete. Moving on from their Hardcore one-dimensional releases of old, the U.K. kings provided something more experimental and refreshing- it was an album critics could not really overlook. Each band member came into their own- the percussion and bass really stood out. Fuzzy and compelling bass notes were only matched by primal and ecstatic drumming- the band never sounded tighter or more determined. Like the lads of Rueben, our boys have some similar qualities. The lyrics (from both bands) ae tongue-in-cheek and humorous; dealing with drunken nights and youthful endeavours. The words hit the mark and do not deviate; they are to-the-point and direct- lodging in your mind. Backed by vocal screams- that are enlivening and hugely atmospheric- full-bodied during attacking moments; quiet and reserved during more emotional codas. Deftones are a band that has propelled Bear VS. Rhino- and with good reason. The first Deftones album I will introduce- as a comparable piece- is Around the Fur. That album was lauded for its incredible drive and hardened assaults. Rawer and more demented (than their debut), the album saw insatiable drum work marry with metallic guitars. It was a sophomore album that suggested the band has phenomenal potential- even if they lacked necessary hooks and a fully-fledged sound. The music and lyrics- from that album- looked and inner depression and personal doubts. Quite heavy and hard themes were explored; the performances were raw and upfront- that redemptive spirit always managed to break through. Following on from their triumphant effort, The Deftones developed and galvanised- their self-titled album marks one of their career high-points. The 2003 album saw the boys become more experimental and abstract. The lyrics were particularly abstract and unusual; the musicianship of the highest order- few were expecting such a stunning album. The heaviness was all back and (stronger than ever)- Metal was flagging in this period; the band ensured their new material was original and groundbreaking. Their self-titled cut opened with huge strikes and a determined sense of purpose- that endless grip and heaviness was hard to ignore. Over the course of tracks the album built in more depth and diversity- coming across as more fully-rounded (than earlier cuts). The American Alt.-Rock outfit is still around and inspiring young bands- it is their sheer passion and unparalleled destruction that excited and invigorates new musicians. Bear VS. Rhino have been captured by this; their music ties in those mixtures of quiet and loud; the music they pen has that same stylistic flair and sound- you can definitely hear embers of the U.S. legends. Biffy Clyro are a band that have intrigued and inspired Bear VS. Rhino. If comparing a couple (of Biffy’s albums) to our boys, Only Revolutions is the first (that comes to mind). That album signaled a high-point for the Scottish band- one of their late-career gems. Commercial accessibility mingled with earnestness and huge anthemics- the band upped their game and drew in a lot of new fans. Primed for radio- but possessed of seriousness- the band turned in a massive and bold L.P. Sinister Biffy’ threw orchestral grandeur with hard screams and unabated noise- there was not a huge amount of cohesiveness. Tracks did not always join together well; there was plenty of sloppiness- it did not seem to put off critics and fans. The wide net was cast to appeal to populist demands; the band mixed ebb-and-flow with balls-to-the-wall bombast- a lot of reviewers praised the album as an all-out classic. The short and concise songs looked at progressive elements and developments- the boys threw in catchy hooks and plenty of memorable tunes. Ear-pleasing choruses, juddering guitars and scintillating guitars sat with sharp dynamics and plenty of risk- resulting in an album that remains their finest. Opposites was released last year- the last Biffy Clyro album- and was seen as a natural development from Only Revolutions. Serenity and huge intentions sat with one another; jagged edges and beautiful luster- the album shifted styles and sensations (as it progressed). Expansive and mood-twisting it remains a hugely impressive work- something that has pushed Bear VS. Rhino. Our boys have a concision and tightness; they match moods and themes- shifting between primal rushes to more composed introspections. Opposites saw Metal-infused arrangements take in elements of ‘70s masters; dichotomous moments mixed with anthemic staggers- the boys sparred complex hooks with intricate melodies. Our London trio have that sense of adventurousness and ambitions; they take in the finest elements of Biffy- expanding it in another direction; something more byzantine, hard and unique. Code Orange Kids have made a mark on the Bear’ boys. The U.S. Metalcore newbies made huge strides with their debut album- Love Is Love/Return to Dust. The thunderous Hardcore insanity of the album had little chance for softness and light- yet some of its final moments resonated in the mind. Calm/Breathe was a relaxed and soothing diamond that marked a great relief and necessity- it was the rest bite and light after primal darkness. Tar-thick rebellious guitars screamed macho ambitions- on their latest album the American kids are trying to sound all grown up. Colourful shades and variegated diversions come out (through I Am King); there was a sense of difference and ambition. In a scene and genre that is ruled by convention and predictability, Code Orange (as they were renamed) went beyond the envelope- did something different and introduced new sounds and maneuvers. Bear VS. Rhino instill the same sort of cave-dwelling tribal bursts; the neophyte raggedness and lust- unbearable tension and pressure. At the end of their E.P., you get the same reaction (you do when listening to Agent Orange)- the breath has been clean taken away. Mayors of Miyazaki and The Melvins are acts that have had an impression on Bear VS. Rhino. The former’s vital blends of Math-Rock and Hardcore and melodic. The male-female vocals and combinations have airs of Blood Red Shoes- indeed the London three-piece have remarkable similarities with Bear’. Openness and honesty rules the sounds (of Mayors’); they ensure every guitar line shimmers and captivates- those incredible vocal performances stick in the imagination. The Melvins’ have had a long and illustrious career- their vital sounds have helped to mold the London trio. The bizarre and wonderful song titles (from The Melvins)- Sesame Street Meat and Exact Paperbacks– were only topped by the exhilarating and scintillating music. Herky-jerky flails and epic fun (go into The Melvins’ best moments)- the band are synonymous with head-pounding and bone-shifting smashes. Our Bear VS. Rhino trio have that same flair- for odd riffs and wonderful energy- and offer their own take. It is the wonderfully odd/stupid song titles- The Melvins have made an art form out of- that our London boys share- they seem constitutionally incapable of offering a title with personal pronouns and subtlety. Perhaps that stands the band aside; means they are more intriguing and interesting- it certainly does not make them boring. All of these bands have played their part; molded the lads- you will find a little of each (with Vulture Song). For the best results; the most complete and reliable overview- take other acts from your mind; assess the band on their own merits and personalities. In spite of my reflexive pronoun usage- tut, tut- influence and inspiration is important- too many critics focus heavily on it. Our trio is one of the most innovative and original around- meaning they cannot easily be compared with other artists.
Beck up, Back Up kicks off Vulture Song. A combination of swaggering riff and punchy percussive beat swing the song in; it has a cool and leather-clad introduction. Propelled by a louche and bristling start, the issues of vegetarianism and murder are brought in- the vocal presses and scrambles among the notes. When the chorus comes into effect- first time- there is a “line in the sand”- our hero seems at his angriest and most fueled. While quite a few of the choruses words lack complete decipherability and clarity- making it hard to extrapolate and understand lyrics- the chorus has more intelligibility. Emphasis is on the mood and vocals; the combinations between the band members- that crunching and beast-like build-up. This song- and these words- are “all about you”- a subject that is under close scrutiny; being given a good going-over. There is a looseness and sense of rambunctiousness that puts me in mind of The Libertines- the same sort of sound and delivery that appeared on Up the Bracket. In the same way Pete Doherty perfected that mix of drawl and sharpness, our hero lets his voice weave and stagger- idiosyncrasies and tics are added in to give the performance a sense of flair and individuality. The contrast you get- between the chorus and verse- is quite stark. The chorus is a darker rumble; a beastly growl that mixes concrete with chanted vocals- emphasizing the sense of danger and judgment. The percussion and guitars spar and duel; caught in a mesh of heated emotions- they tangle and fight for glory. Temporised and restrained- after a few seconds- the composition changes pace once more. Bored thoughts, elongated vocals and “bubblegum” are levelled in and repeated- you can hear our frontman is building up for another assault. Letting the vocal reach fever-pitch it screams and stretches- eliciting the most wracked moments so far. The final moments of the song are a concoction of stumbling and rifled beats; driving and determined bass- backed with strong-armed guitar. With a final throw of the dice, the band calm things down- ensures the closing notes are softer and calmed. Wrapping things up elegantly and beautifully, Bear VS. Rhino ensure they kick off the E.P. with a triumphant cut. Milli80seconds:publicist is one of the E.P.’s most bizarre and odd song titles- among several. Not expecting what is to come, it is the bass which plucks and pushes from the front. Mood and slow build lead the song into the spotlight. You imagine scenes of Westerns or maybe a tense Indie flick- with the hero loading his gun and walking into the sun. Rather than go for ballistic and instant strike, the band emphasise melody and emotion- allowing you to picture scenes and possibilities. Sounding like a cross between Radiohead (Amnesiac-period) and Leonard Cohen, the boys start the offensive. When our hero steps to the microphone, his voice is mixes between a controlled and low-down groan- before exploding into a feral and insane bellow. Again, clarity is an issue for the track- it is hard to pick up a lot of the words and sentences. As with the opening number, there is more attention to the sound and pace- that mixture of threads and detours. The vocals swing between polarized emotions and band unity- backing vocals are introduced to add weight and tension. Hard truths are investigated; our hero seems like he has a burden (on his mind)- paranoia and unease linger in the song. Casting his eye to a particular subject, it seems (they) are on the brink and edge. With vocals looking at “righteousness”; tripping and shouting; straight and loose- our man ensures his tones keep things fascinating and unpredictable. Whilst the song’s subject falls to their knees blinded, the band increase the pace and volume. The compositional elements are not as attacking and bellicose (as one would imagine); meaning you are given greater opportunity to decipher the lyrics; appreciate the core performance and hear the band in a new light- the track has a Punk-inspired sound. Scratchy and frantic guitar strings give way to bouncing and taut bass- that blend of rushing and funk-laden is a heady brew. Stepping into more restrained territory, our hero lets his voice skip and dance- it jumps and hops with energy and soul. With (the song’s subject) “obscuring the view”, the delivery and pace puts me in mind of Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads)- you expect to hear David Byrne pop up any minute. Towards the final seconds, the boys do not let the mood and intrigue slip- that sense of grip and fascination remains until the very end. After Vulture Song’s finest cut, the lads need to keep the grip tight- A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is possesses one of the most unwieldy and long titles ever. Capturing you with its oddities and byzantine edges, it sounds almost like a lyric- the remnants of a verse or chorus. Preparing your mind for something equally strange, the band go in fighting- the tense and focused guitar introduction stands you to attention. Not hard and violent, it has a superb riff; a danceable and catchy sound. The wolves are after (the little girl); circling her and coming close- the world is a big and scary place. Getting things off to the races, the pace and drive is infectious- the boys unite instantly. Tight and focused, the compositional coda is a throws in so many colours and twists- going from straight and direct; it weaves and snakes its pace without warning. Catchy, uptight and graceful, the guitar notes get inside your head; the bass burrows in and keeps things level- the percussion splatters, smatters and punches forth. The vocal performance has that inimitable quality- that drunken swagger the masculine growls; that sense of authority. Coming off like an Ian Drury-cum-Tom Waits performance, the berserk and repeated mingle. With walls closing in and coming into the fray, our hero lets his voice rap and spit; his repeated codas hit the mark- that infectious blend of Punk, Rap and Hardcore flourishes and explodes. Without any warning shots, the vocal scratches and yelps; feasts and leaps- the shift is quite a dramatic one. The band is up to the task as the overall sound tightens and becomes more dangerous. Angular guitars mutate into assault weapons; the percussion is more defined and rampant; the bass sharpens its teeth marvelously. Elements of groups like Sonic Youth appear briefly; the machine wreckage and breakdown is a sound that lingers and grows- ensuring the song builds in stature and meaning. Keeping the listener, the boys ensure they do not miss a beat or step- notching up the offensive with borderline-arrogance. The song’s subject is being given a talking-to; eviscerated and smacked-down- our hero’s voice is as urgent and insistent (than it has ever been). Completing a glorious one-two, the Bear’ lads take the E.P. past the half-way mark- and leave the listener salivated and hooked. If you thought the previous song has an odd title, then If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead is not far behind. Making you smile- before a single note is laid-in- we have a short and violent burst. The most overt Hardcore song on the set, it treads into Thrash-Metal territory- the vocal is as growled, graveled and animalistic as any I have heard. Matching the seriousness and disturbed possibilities (of the title), you would not expect a Jazz-Rock swooner- the boys are in no mood for a vanilla latte (with soya milk and a dash of cinnamon). The vocal attacks are not a consistent and merciless ting- they are uttered in short bursts; compositional punctuation then comes through. Decipherability- once more- is a bit of an issue; hardly shocking given the sheer force and satanic rituals of the vocal. I’m guessing scenes of hand-holding and carpet shopping are not being presented- you imagine something more morbid and interesting is afoot. When the composition does take charge it sets up our frontman- who allows his voice to return to the land of the living; lighten slightly and regress to its previous state. Presenting as much diversity, shift and change- as in any number- the band keep you on the edge of your seat- they pack a hell of a lot of rollercoaster into the ride. Grotesque and macabre visions lead into wretched and rapturous vocals- perhaps not the song I would choose to have at my wedding. Whilst a lot of Hardcore bands offer nothing but demented and blood-curdling screams, Bear VS. Rhino go deeper- making sure they provide melody, contrast and lyrical intrigue. Not contented to slash your throat with a razor blade, the boys provide ample musicianship and depth- ensuring the song appeals to multiple listeners. Perfect for stress-ridden times, the track is the perfect thing to thrash to- the mosh pit anthem that gets you moving and motivated. Containing a strangely catchy and appealing chorus, the song almost makes you sing-along- how many Hardcore songs/bands do that so easily? The sound of the rhino, bear and vulture feasting on one another, it is a trippy, intoxicating and drugged smoke that seeps into your brain- a lightning storm of biblical proportions. Giving me plenty of inspiration for my own music, the trio has crafted a concise and memorable slam- a song that lasts a little over two minutes. Taking Vulture Song to its conclusion- Daisychain has more positive and upbeat potential. The grumbling and swaggering opening notes take your mind out of fields and arable scenes- we are back in the avenues of the violent and direct. Lo-fi and raw, the song has plenty of menace and meat. The percussion is particularly impressive- avalanching and rollicking with determination and grit. Weaving and spiraling guitars blend with pulsing and rhythmic bass- the combination gives flair and potency to proceedings. Our hero wants vengeance and blood- his voice is sharp and out for justice. Propelled by his comrades, he is casting accusation and vitriol at a particular heroine- a “bitch” that seems to have caused a lot of strife and pain. Whilst not as fascinating and developed as previous numbers, Daisychain acts as a marvelous and appropriate swansong- a track that leaves you wanting more. Containing one of the most authoritative and urgent deliveries; our hero is at his most pissed-off and annoyed- in no mood to talk things through. The final seconds (of the song) are as insistent and hypnotic as the first- meaning you are left intrigued and hooked. The entire E.P. packs so much in; covers a lot of ground- surprises and inspires. While some moments lack necessary intelligibility and focus, they are minor detractions- the abiding sensations is one of pleasant surprise. That is not a bad thing: the boys have managed to supersede and subvert expectation- craft an E.P. that delivers at every turn; will appeal to masses of different music lovers.
It is great bands like Bear VS. Rhino exist. Having progressed since their debut days, the trio has laid down a huge statement of intent- an E.P. that offers so much wealth and diversity. If you read the term ‘Hardcore’- you may balk and assume the music will be awful. It is true- a lot of the genre’s players- are sheer awfulness; the type that can make the ears bleed- that is not the case with our heroes. Perhaps not quite at their very peak, Vulture Song is a packed, promising and passionate quintet of songs- nothing outstays its welcome; there are myriad incredible moments. If you are captured by the imagination and the originality of the song titles- or are somewhat amused by their length and oddity- that may define your listening experience- the boys present wit, humour, directness and hard-hitting honesty. There is profanity and accusation; enough aim and missile hit- nestling within genuine emotion and some reflectiveness. I am not sure what the next year (will hold for the boys): whether they choose to release an E.P.; maybe put out a full-length album- may just present a couple of singles instead. Their confidence and sense of togetherness has never been stronger- they are as assured and tight as they have ever been. This passion and urgency means all of their tracks- on Vulture Song– will appear to multitudes of listeners- the tracks do not simply linger and shuffle awkwardly. Classic albums- that have been celebrated as masterpieces- have never really hit me. Having been listening (again) to Oasis’ album Definitely Maybe– I am finding myself bemused by its ‘legendary’ status. Critics and fans have salivated over the L.P. (for twenty years now)- proclaiming it one of music’s finest albums. Whilst I would be foolish to overlook the genius and staggering anthemic lift of Live Forever– none (of the album’s tracks) come close. Laziness, boredom, uninspired lyrics are matched with samey compositions and whining vocals. Plagiarism is another issue with Definitely Maybe– T-Rex are suitably ripped-off during Cigarettes and Alcohol– Noel Gallagher didn’t even bother to disguise his theft of Get It On (Bang a Gong). In addition, The Beatles are stolen from- Noel Gallagher imagining himself as a reincarnated John Lennon figure- there is little original talent or ideas. Critics are too eager to overblow and overhype mediocre and undeserving albums; hold aloft some truly terrible records- too many great bands and artists get overlooked. Music in 2014 still suffers plagiaristic intentions and overinflated egos- too few musicians have a genuine uniqueness; few still have any sense of modesty and focus. I am not suggesting we are in a desperate state- it is the fact music has suffered a dip in quality. Beleaguered new acts are falling by the wayside; established artists are finding it hard to remain consistent- discovering something different and promising can be a very hard task. Bear VS. Rhino have entered a genre that is defined by its limitations and weaknesses- adding something exciting and superb (to Hardcore’s annals). The bearded infantry is one of the most vibrant and focused acts around. The vocal work throughout Vulture Song is inspired and varied. Our hero’s voice can go from a settled and contented croon to a full-bloodied scream- the sound of a fox roaming and screeching in the night’s cold climate. Virile and staggering; composed and romantic- few other singers have such an immense amount of ammunition. It is not just the range (of the vocal) that impresses- the way the voice mutates and shifts can be instantaneous and unpredictable. Possessed of its own particular sound- few singers can claim to be original and incomparable- the listener is not reminded of other vocalists- giving them the chance to appreciate an incredible and honest talent. The guitar work is consistently engaging and scintillating- at its most raptured it is an unabated weapon of destruction. Nuanced and melodic (the one moment); riff-heavy and juddering the next- it then climbs and evolves into a blood-baying monster. Most bands do not let their bass work shine and stand out- in fact, few acts are notable for their bass innovation and experimentation. In Bear VS. Rhino, they have a superbly confident and invigorating player- someone with his own personality and way of working. Capable of stealing focus, the bass strings have plenty of melody and passion, rhythm and fluidity- able to punch and swagger with fighting spoil. Combining a range of sensations and personality traits, the bass acts as a strong pair of lungs- something about to shout support and make is voice known. Not capable of fading into the background it drives the songs; keeps the heartbeat strong and alive- ensures there is plenty of contours and layers. Percussion work manages to summon up a hell of a riot. When more calmed and fastidious, the drum is able to intrigue and grip; when rising and building it is teasing and promising- when it explodes and erupts, few are immune from its stunning graces. Primal and fierce; defined and structured- Bear’s percussion king is one of the most adept and mobile artists around; a stick smasher with a big future. When the band unite and combine, they are at their strongest- the passion and understanding they share ensures all of their songs resonate and effect. Constantly tight performances elevate the witty, angered and detailed songs- ensure those oblique song titles are not in-jokes, juvenile thoughts and angst-laden half-thoughts. Each track is sharp and direct; never lingering and bloated- the music is sharp and chiseled. The production values combine polish with raw meat- the songs sound live and first-hand whilst being clearly audible and defined. No notes and vocals are buried deep or overly-gleaming- the mixture is perfect. The boys have no intention of slowing or restricting themselves- they will be making music for many years to come. With music capable of being festival favourites- not niche Metal festivals- the lads could be mixing it up with some modern-day legends (before too long). Building and honing their sound- with each new release- they are on an upward trajectory- a projectile that is going to see them go from strength-to-strength.
The next few weeks will see me embark upon managerial preparations; plotting and planning; music video imagining- a whole host of different musical possibilities. Reviewing bands and acts less frequently than normal- about one new artist a week- it has been good to step back a bit- my daily life is not so busy and rushed; I am able to step back and fully appreciate music. One of the great things about new music- and my reviewing life- is the sheer range of sounds around. Different acts have different personalities; no two are exactly the same- there is always something a little unique and individual. Bear VS. Rhino have the band make-up and E.P. designs of the likes of Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of the Stone Age- in addition to some Grunge legends of the ‘80s and ‘90s. In a way the boys share similar D.N.A.- they have the same gutsy and rampant primacy and overt passion. Whereas the likes of Homme and Cobain have their own distinct styles- they share hypnotic personalities and potent songwriting. Our heroes are making impressive strides; attempting to put their stamp on the music world. Perhaps their song titles are a bit long-winded and byzantine- that may put off some listeners. It is clear their projections and force could knock the enamel from teeth- there is ample melody and restraint to be found. It is never a great idea to judge any act on surface values and appearances- you have to investigate the music and draw conclusions from that. Vulture Song is testament to the vibrant ambition and determination of our young stars- the ammunition and potential they have at their disposal. With a tongue and vocabulary- your mother might not approve of- the rambunctious and ragged London boys have a swaggering sense of pride and longing. You can hear they want to achieve big things; their music speaks volumes- their sounds are direct and utterly gripping. In a city that is growing in reputation; providing as much diversity and fascination as (any other location); it is not shocking to see another tremendous band come through- I am sure we will hear a lot more from the Bear VS. Rhino boys. If we did pit these two terrifying and unsociable beats into battle, I am not sure which one would win- probably the Rhino by a shade- but there would be bloodshed and horror. The noise, pandemonium and carnage would be eye-watering and memorable- that is the kind of festival and riot the London trio offer up. Vulture Song has oblique and striking titles; plenty of oomph, panache and ruckus- a selection of songs that lodge inside your brain (and settle in for a long residency). The music world needs more noise, pummel and fight- although not too much- so it is great to hear from the Bear’ lads. Whatever the future holds for them, they are sure to tackle it with an unabashed and hardcore bite- I am sure the lads will be festival favourites in years to come. Their rousing and primeval myriad concoctions are the sort to dispel fatigue and dishevelment- they can blow the cobwebs from a cloudy and confused mind. The sheer infectiousness and memorability (of the music) is what lingers and compels- they are the sort of tracks that cannot be digested after a single listen. This instance sense of nuance will stand the group in good stead- future cuts are likely to be just as addictive and layered. I will leave with a thought about bands in general- what makes them tick; who we should be supporting. I am sick and tired of hearing swathes of bands that seem naturally born to score teen dramas- the weepy and saccharine acoustic guitar-wielders that put the ‘I’ in ‘I’m tempted to commit suicide’- that kind of wainscot-rotting crap we can all do without. I guess every musical animal has a place on the ark- bizarre and un-temporised market forces will always give certain acts a place and relevance. I am a man and fan of heavier music; that which reaches down the trousers and has a good rummage- there are limits that must be put in place. If the band- that offers this type of music- is vague and aimless- they can jog on. Similarly, we do not need hordes of these groups coming through- at times we need some control, quiet and difference. Bear VS. Rhino look to be making- their best moves- at just about the right times- laying down their philosophies at a juncture where there is a dip in overall quality. New music is bubbling away nicely; throwing up plenty of distinction and range- the mainstream has let the hairline recede and the waistline expand. For that reason, many ears and eyes are casting their attentions to newborn flavours- seeking out the best new music is popping out. If you like your sounds and stylings a little bit on the rampant side, then check out Bear VS. Rhino. If you like music that provides compendiums of lust, grace, emotion, humour and quality- attune yourself to the wealth of the London lads. As much as anything, the trio provides a necessary escape through the Looking Glass- a way down a rabbit hole of unending fascination and multifarious trips. You might find it- their music- a little bit off the realms of normality; a little disjointed and angered- you cannot deny the sheet vitality and purposefulness coming through. Vulture Song is a brave and bold missive from one of London’s most compelling new bands. In a landscape where the likes of Allusondrugs are making some great strides- their motifs of Nirvana-cum-Pearl Jam are exhilarating- it seems Bear VS. Rhino have definite leverage- they could well scoop the rusty crowns of Biffy Clyro. With so many formerly- reputable bands starting to wane and fatigue, we need some new kings and queens- fresh blood to come along and kick the dust away. A lot of Vulture Song was recorded in a basement- of a local wine and spirits gaff- and has that natural and sparse quality. Back to basics; to the bone- the boys have that youthful rebellion comes out. This passionate and unusual paradigm resulted in the lads recording vocals in a shipping container (in Aldgate, no less)! This freewheelin’ and D.I.Y. musical approach has created a golden nugget- an E.P. that is clear to send intent shockwaves through music. As I type, I am vibrating, singing (along in unison to) and swaggering to Supergrass- Going Out to be precise- completely intoxicated by its merriment, anthemic joys and sheer beauty- songs (and bands like this) come along seldom. Bear VS. Bear may have transposed and reinterpreted Supergrass’ sense of bonhomie and vitality- the levels of intention and force are comparable- that unending electioneering and sense of campaign. Give our London boys a trial; extend your thoughts and considerations to them- allow their brand of brilliance do its job. When it all comes down to it…
BEING boring is a fucking awful fate.
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