EP REVIEW: Liberosis – I Fight Bears

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To be in a state of liberosis is to have the desire to care less. Filmmaker and creator of the Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows, John Koenig, describes it as “an ache to let things go”. Very few people will feel that more than those who struggle with their mental health. Channelling this longing for liberty, Welsh metalcore quintet I FIGHT BEARS recently released their Liberosis EP.

The stopgap following the band’s eponymous debut (2018) and features five tracks which unfold the many facets behind what it means to be your own gaoler. Opening Beacon pulls no punches as Marc James launches into a weighty riff nestled beneath Dan Blackmore’s guttural screams. Blackmore’s grunts meld well with Drew Hamley’s (bass) clean vocals as we settle into a typically metalcore chorus chock full of vocal hooks which speak about wanting “to be better and to be more”. I FIGHT BEARS showcase the metal of metal and hardcore beautifully with Chris Treharne’s (lead guitar) solo soaring above the broil of Scott Preece’s (drums) double kick before ushering in an outro heavy music fans could only describe as disgusting.

For any band coming back from a hiatus, the pressure of reintroducing themselves to the music world can be impalpable. Carrying that process, the first handful of singles back has to not only be a statement of intent but also command attention. Chainbreaker does both tenfold. After an atmospheric intro full of world building, James’ ability to construct a riff sweeps in and draws us in. “I’m at war with my own mind” speaks to the part of us which knows that battle intimately and feeds from that discomfort. By the time Hamley’s chorus comes around with its expansive instrumental, the empowerment we’re filled with takes steps to mend the “broken soul”.

The subject of mental health and overcoming our demons may be stereotypically metalcore but I FIGHT BEARS strive to deviate from what metalcore should be. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge/breakdown, chorus, end. That’s the formula, no? We discover with this EP that metalcore is like this for a reason. It simply works as song composition. I FIGHT BEARS subvert this in Chainbreaker and following Damaged World by swapping out the breakdown for a melodic solo or melodic section. Damaged World does indeed have a breakdown further down the line, but it comes a little too late. There’s no doubt the crunch of it is something we will dine on for many replays but having a main meal at dessert time sits strangely.

If that seems like a nit-pick critique, that’s because it is. There are very little negative traits for us to pick up on from this EP. Does that make it perfect? Not necessarily. It does make it great though. The bastardisation of metal and hardcore is executed flawlessly in the aural cacophony that State is comprised of. Higher grating screams mix with lower growls for an addictive vocal listen. The dual guitar elements after the second chorus sate our lust for rich round tones. “This world wants to beat me, defeat me” as a vocal hook puts into words that which many of us cannot articulate.

Meanwhile, closing track Believe In Me’s melody-driven intro buckles under the weight of having a “knife in your back”, resulting in a dark, luscious opus. Putting the longest song at the end of an EP is by no means a new mechanic but it is an exemplary choice for I FIGHT BEARS as it fills the last piece of the recovery puzzle. It illustrates the liberosis this EP is meant to. We’re encouraged to “step away from what you perceive” as mind shifting solos shred through the soundscape with ease. Believe In Me may have a hint of lyrical cheese within “keep going, don’t stop moving” but sometimes cheese is necessary to get the point across.

As we mentioned previously, this EP may not be perfect but it is a wonderful listen. A window into the difficulty we face when wanting to break the shackles of our own creation, Liberosis confronts us in ways our support systems should. This slice of recovery is as heavy as it is uplifting. The catharsis and liberation this feeds us is something to savour as we not only ponder our next moves but wait for what I FIGHT BEARS serve us next. If Liberosis is anything to go by, we’re in for a sweet treat.

Rating: 8/10

Liberosis - I Fight Bears

Liberosis is out now via self-release.

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The post EP REVIEW: Liberosis – I Fight Bears appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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