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Bear: Propaganda

This album explicitly tackles the ways so much of the modern world attempts to manipulate or influence or change us through images, advertisements, and staged “events.” As I think about that, I am reminded of those moments in Minority Report when ads come up based on eyeball scans. Remember that scene when Tom Cruise’s character gets another person’s eyes and then the ads change? Very creepy. We’re obviously not there yet, but I still think it’s pretty weird when my Facebook feed includes ads clearly triggered by the last thing I searched for online.

But Bear isn’t just thinking about the weirder aspects of online shopping. They are also thinking about the ways propaganda circulates through culture and impacts everything from the way we understand warfare to the way we approach politics. The cover art deliberately evokes the power of images celebrating national might while also attempting to create some kind of pop-art inspired distance from them. Since I only have a digital copy of this album, I haven’t seen the booklet inside the sleeve, but I’m told it has even more images that echo the kinds of things you might have seen in the past. I thought that was a pretty cool idea.

Musically, the band describe themselves as progressive metal / hardcore. That’s a good description for what I’m hearing. This band is certainly aggressive (and angry), but there are plenty of elements here that show off an interest in complex structures, progressions, and timing. The band is probably best when they just go nuts and let the hardcore elements carry them away. But some of the more progressive-inspired moments add some nice depth to things. There are also cool tracks like “Flares” that open by pushing everything out of their way and then slow down just enough to see what else they can do. Those were my favorite tracks, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the opener “Dissolve Dissipate” or the very strong title track. Some of the tracks are a little uneven, at least to my ears. “Apollo’s Heist” especially struck me that way. It’s very ambitious, but I thought it had a bit too much going on. I felt the same way about “Gutter Love,” a fast and heavy thrasher that mixes things up near the end in ways that flattened the overall energy a bit. If you want to take a break from the band’s in-your-face attitude, check out “Mite” or “The Ram.” Those were calm tracks, and both worked really well. “The Ram” is dedicated to a friend of the band and is a worthy tribute. It’s short, but meaningful.

Overall, I’d say that Bear has come up with something aggressive, groovy, and strong. Check out songs like “Dissolve Dissipate,” “Stigmata,” or “Flares” and see what you think.

Track Listing:
1. Dissolve Dissipate
2. Propaganda
3. Obey
4. Apollo’s Heist
5. Red Throne
6. Mite
7. Gutter Love
8. Stigmata
9. The Ram
10. Flares
11. Engine
12. Kuma

Added: August 13th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 210
Language: english

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