Bear Mace – Butchering the Colossus (2017)
March 2017 (self -released)
Good evening readers.
As per usual I shall share a few thoughts, veer wildly from my meandering narrative and let my jaded stream of conscious empower my digits to a length of which a monstrous diatribe would be jealous. And all this before I’ve even started to tackle the matter at hand. A look at a release from a musical act with an odd but rather catchy moniker; Bear Mace.
I had something lined up and ready to go too. Dammit! It was a delicious rant carefully composed and maliciously planned (that’s a lie!). All in a three-hour block of time I’d somehow managed to capitalize upon whilst dealing with tricky offspring logistics and unhappy blocks of texts all containing the same overall theme – you suck as a construct of flesh and your skills at being a parent are sub-par at best.
However, truth be told this was probably some of the finest grammatical bollocks I’ve ever laid down. Alas somehow, I managed to lose everything and it wasn’t to be appreciated by anyone but myself. (It really was quite brilliant. You’ll have to take my word for it I guess). Topics ranged as far afield as the dead stare of travelers, the overpowering stench of urine in select thrift stores, the rollicking enjoyable pace of Clive Cussler books, the varying viewpoints found in Sven Hassel texts (All originating because I flat refused to splash out on a new book from a selection that covered a wide radius of the overriding dull spectrum). And last but certainly not least placing a flamboyant crimson altar, of sorts, closer to my houses front entryway so I could be ready to deal with missionary-like white knight types, asking for my signature (on the week’s buzz topic) at a moment’s notice. (Damn that was a long and wholly unsatisfying sentence devoid of structure and grammatical spark. Babies mommas might be correct after all!)
Fear not. I already have a rant seething through my cranium and ready to be typed up for my next article. Spoiler – if you’ve heard of Little Einstein’s and wished there were anything else that had quite the power to distract with quite the same panache you’ll – fingers crossed – not want to miss this. Stay tuned this may well make a modicum of sense later.
Onwards, but let me first take a moment to curse my stunning lack of tech savvy prowess and my inability to hit SAVE when it’s desired the most.
Little is known of Chicago based Bear Mace save that their existence started around 2012 spawning from a heated argument between (now the bands vocalist) Lord Devourer, and (Guitarist), Crossbow Death. The collaboration became an outlet for their violent frustrations leading to a limited-edition release by name of Kodiak Killers available from Gypsy Blood Records in a retro cassette format, Then, later a full length including the talents of three more like-minded musicians.
This brutal collective cites their main influences amongst the likes of Bolt Thrower, Massacre and Death and truth be told a virgin listen thankfully boasts the same overall impression. Admittedly these are hard boots to fill, the styles of which carving a destructive swath leaving a Grand Canyon-like impression on the hearts and minds of those who lead the charge of what the metal scene has transformed/evolved into today. So, how does Bear Mace sound, is the talent such that one might be able to mention them in the same sentence as the above named?
The album drips off the starting block with Death of a Constellation. Choppy riffs lead the listener into a style of death drenched with doom tendencies, early Obituary comes to mind, only then to hack them up with galloping melodies overlaid with an applause worthy husky growl courtesy of Lord Devourer. It is in the next instant that a distinct Massacre homage/influence jumps out. And, as with their style I’m tapping my limbs with wild abandon, the melodies are catchy, slow to mid paced and powerful enough to incite a mosh pit frenzy.
Cyclone of Shrapnel is the next track and of the same excellent quality that easily makes one forget their day’s woes and myself wonder how it is that my headphones are still affixed to my sweaty dome.
The title track seethes with a certain sludginess, a Bolt Thrower riff intensity that yearns of the early years of death metal yet works very well here. A great track that leaves the listener panting for more. Leave Nothing Here Alive starts out by caressing the auditory senses with melodies akin to a slew of acts bearing Finnish origin (whose myriad of monikers escape me!). However, a tempo change catapults a familiarity to the central lobes that any fan of the genre should know all too well. But, who am I kidding? The clear majority of the album sports the same feel, drums fit perfectly in the mix with enough gusto to warrant limbs to move of their own accord, an aura that’s dressed up tastefully, conjured with finesse and melded into a style more than easily consumable by a huge radius of the metal hordes with a taste for the old school and an insatiable desire for ‘reverence’ that doesn’t reek of creative sacrilege in the form of undisputable plagiarism.
Lord Devourer of the Dead (the track not the vocalist) screams a Chuck Schuldiner (RIP) influence of the kind that eats at your metal databanks (which damn track is this, I’ve heard this riff before, dammit!) but still manages to satisfy.
The album isn’t without a vein pumping with respect for traditional heavy metal either. Wheels of Despair bears a riff that I’m sure Saxon would bludgeon newborns for, but in all honestly would probably ask first to borrow in a much nicer manner in liue of spilling innocent blood. I would be remiss to mention, in the same track no less, a passage mirroring the style of Swedish doomsters Candlemass. Chalk it up folks, yet another notch on the bad-assery chart for this stunning assortment of tracks.
In conclusion, I’m finding it difficult to fathom how it is that Bear Mace are yet to be signed. I’ll be buggered if I can choose which of these eight tracks I like the most. The talent is there, creative passion and respect oozes from every beat, chorus, bridge and each of the albums thirty-nine minutes. Of course, this album could well have been released in the nineties to a much greater reception. However, BtC recent unleashing, deserved of the attention it so rightfully deserves, should find fans salivating, fighting amongst themselves and frantically scrambling through back catalogs/used record stores (please support your independent music merchants) in search of those responsible for Bear Maces’ style basted, saturated, in old school values.
Start off your metal listening week with a workout, toss this in your ears and rekindle your love of a scene that in all honesty has never really perished. But has, much like expensive alcoholic squished grapes, only become more refined and appreciated with the commencement of sprouting grey hairs.