Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Fight With Bears

I find myself as surprised with myself as those who know me will be as I write this. I have never been that much of a hardcore fan, but maybe that's because I wasn't introduced to the right hardcore bands for me in the first place. This group is definitely the hardcore act I should have listened to first. They totally redefine their genre in my mind, and I can finally appreciate something that has so far eluded me.
So without anymore stalling, I unveil for you FightWithBears, an alternative-hardcore band out of Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. Comprising Gianluca Allimant (vocals), Dylan Daquano (guitar), Gary Scullion (guitar), Chris Martlin (keyboards and synths), Brandon Van Haeren (bass), and Dylan Cassidy (drums), FightWithBears completely recreates the hardcore sound, and recasts it in a more melodic (at least to me) setting.
The first song that picks up my ears from their album In This Moment of Truth is the track "I Hope That One Day When the World Comes to An End, I Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief, Because I Know There Will be So Much to Look Forward To." I hardcore song with a Fall Out Boy-like long title, "Breathe a Sigh" begins with an incredibly melodic guitar progression from Daquano and Scullion, accompanied by rising drum beats from Cassidy. Then Van Haeren's bass jams in, and with Martlin laying down synth riffs, Allimant's growls rip through the speakers into your soul. The sound is like nothing I've ever heard before. I've heard hardcore bands, with growling alongside an un-melodic musical progression. But the fact that FWB incorporates keys and synths into their sound, along with metal-influenced guitar playing that mixes with Allimant's growling vocals, I can see that something new is born. It's animalistic, it's ugly, but also, it's strangely romantic. Plus I love the way the whole song completely shifts time signatures about half-way through the song. If I had to call this anything, the only term I could come up with would be romantcore. Just a brilliant song all around. Love it.
Track two is just as hard-rock/heavy-metal influenced as the first, but with an even more heavy keyboard section. "Some People Make Headlines, Others Make History" begins again with Scullion's and Daquano's perfectly synched guitar riffing, but changes sound completely when Cassidy crashes in on the drums. As soon as he does, three other things happen at once: Van Haeren's bass lines can be heard keeping time, Allimant starts ripping his vocals chords out, but also Martlin makes his own presence known with an romantic, melodic synth progression. Absolutely amazing in a way I can't even describe. And during the chorus, amongst Allimant's gutteral growls, you can hear the others on backup vocals, with Martlin's keys providing the perfect backdrop. 
The last two tracks I listen to, "The Revenge of the Tofu Beast," and "Who Does Mike Hanes Think He Is?" wrap up the set-list perfectly. The former of the two continues the metalcore sound of the group, owing to influences like Killswitch Engage, and As I Lay Dying, while the latter track reminds me more of a Sepultura sound. Yet the pick-sliding on "The Revenge of the Tofu Beast," and again Martlin's keys on "Who Does Mike Hanes Think He Is?"  create two completely different sounds, so it's not just one guy screaming while five others make noise. This is real, legitimate music, and it's taken me until now to really appreciate it. This promises to be one killer album, with melodies and grit that could tear your head off. Brilliant. 

Sounds Like: Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, Sepultura

Key Tracks from In This Moment of Truth: "I Hope That One Day When the World Comes to An End, I Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief, Because I Know There Will Be So Much to Look Forward To," "Some People Make Headlines, Others Make History," "Who Does Mike Hanes Think He Is?"

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