Bear vs. Shark
Terrorhawk


5.0
classic

Review

by David Driver USER (82 Reviews)
October 20th, 2009 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bear vs. Shark bid a fond farewell by offering, quite simply, one of the greatest albums of the post-hardcore genre.

Bear vs. Shark was definitely something of a rarity: they were a band that created something completely fresh and unique instead of simply emulating the bands that came before them. Bear vs. Shark embodied the mix of several different genres, and they were characterized by the creative structures of post-hardcore, the straight-forward energy of punk and the melodic sensibilities of indie rock. Unfortunately, the band had an incredibly short career that only spanned two albums. Terrorhawk turned out to be their fond farewell to the music scene, but even half a decade after it’s release, the content of the album still sounds insightful, powerful and just downright flawless.

The song writing ability that Bear vs. Shark possessed was nothing short of amazing. Terrorhawk features songs with unique structures and progressions, ferocious energy and melodic underpinnings. Every song on this album runs a gamut of emotions and intensities, and this is none better personified by the album opener, “Catamaran”. The song starts with the muted strumming of a guitar and a bittersweet keyboard line before erupting into a flurry of guitar and screams. The choruses manage to keep the intensity, but Bear vs. Shark also display their incredible sense of melody by installing a catchy vocal line on top of the fury. The second verse eases back without losing any confidence or drive before erupting into noise again, and the song closes with a wall of sound and blood-curdling screams. It’s so refreshing to see a band try something so unique and be so successful, and it’s amazing how they can be so cohesive with their varied structures and sounds.

Some of the best songs found on Terrorhawk are the ones where the band settles into a 6/8 time signature. “5, 6 Kids” starts with a melodic lead guitar line and progresses into unrestrained verses and hard hitting choruses. “The Great Dinosaurs With Fifties Section” features a flowing groove where the guitars jangle, the bass guitar slides around and the drums gush and clamour freely. Even the more ballad-like songs of “What a Horrible Night For a Curse” and “Song About Old Roller Coaster” feature a free-wheeling 6/8 time signature that creates the perfect space for the band to create swirling melodies, simple drum beats and clean, heartfelt guitars.

But no review of this album would be complete without extended praise for Marc Paffi and his frightfully fantastic vocal performance. Not only does this guy have the ability to let loose some outlandish, ferocious, ear-piercing screams (“Seven Stop Hold Restart”), but his singing parts are so captivating that he really embodies whatever sounds are playing behind him. Both “Entrance of the Elected” and “Rich People Say Yeah Yeah Hey Hey” in particular have such strong vocal performances that it really adds to the melody and catchiness of the music. What’s even more amazing is how Marc really buckles down and personifies the beautiful “Baraga Embankment” and “What a Horrible Night For a Curse” with his sombre, forlorn vocal performance that fits the gorgeous music like a glove. With his versatility and his passion, Marc is easily one of the best, if not the best, singers of the genre.

For me, Terrorhawk is nothing short of perfection. The music is so creative, unique and tasteful, and the vocals are nothing short of incredible. There’s so much passion and energy to be found in these songs, and there is not a single track on here where the band doesn’t pour their hearts out. It’s a great tragedy that they didn’t stick around for longer, but there’s great comfort in knowing that both of their albums, including this effort, will forever be regarded as some of the few truly great accomplishments of the post-hardcore genre.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Beauville88
October 20th 2009


226 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thought I'd give this album a more deserving review.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2009


17231 Comments


I really really like this, but a 5?

Beauville88
October 20th 2009


226 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd easily put this in my top 3 favourite albums.

cvlts
October 20th 2009


8985 Comments


I really really like this, but a 5?


inside the genre; definately

excellent review, very underrated band and album.

Douglas
October 20th 2009


9201 Comments


If I like Emery's new album will I like this?

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2009


17231 Comments


It's a different side of post-hardcore. A bit more raw, less scene-y. You should definitely check it out though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lklRd0dIovI give it a try.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 20th 2009


3780 Comments


They're completely different albums, but then again, no one quite sounds like Bear vs. Shark. They've got a much bigger midwest/indie sound to them, even though they're still heavy as anything - I'd get Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands first though.

Douglas
October 20th 2009


9201 Comments


Ok great, thanks guys. I don't mind the more raw stuff.

DeadToPain
October 20th 2009


694 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I don't want to be the lines you wear around your wrist."

That song is one of the best closers in the history of album closers. This is an awesome review, but I think you like this a bit more than I do. Given time, I think these fellows would have been even greater.

Turtlelephant
October 20th 2009


168 Comments


damn, now I have to listen to this album again. I'm not sure if I like this more then Right Now though, but BVS is a fuck awesome band.

shortone323
October 20th 2009


883 Comments


Good review. Also, Bear would win.

EasternLight
October 20th 2009


2704 Comments


im getting this! exciteddddd as fuckkk

the bear would lose underwater.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2009


17231 Comments


the band name = the state of michigan.

WeepingBanana
October 20th 2009


10217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i love this album so much. marc paffi is such a talented freakin singer, it's scary.

as far a bear fighting a shark goes. it really all depends where.

tom79
October 20th 2009


3384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great band, but their first album is a lot better. Catamaran rules though.

Digging: Bent Outta Shape - Bent Outta Shape

alachlahol
October 20th 2009


7515 Comments


the band name = the state of michigan.

this was never verified from what i understand

shortone323
October 20th 2009


883 Comments


Well the bear would obviously win on land, no contest. But it could at least put up a fight in the water. That gives it the edge in my opinion. Also, I doubt I'll ever check this out but I felt like discussing their name.

Lions
October 20th 2009


1015 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

if the shark was fresh out of water, it would at least give a mean bite on a paw. the bear would sure be upset...and then fucking kill the shark.

PatchworkNeurology
March 20th 2011


352 Comments


Thank you for this review. Epic album. Glad I got to see them play this stuff when they were still a band.

WeepingBanana
March 20th 2011


10217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is the number 1 band i want to get back together just so i can see them play



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