Review Summary: Bridear decide to change things up a bit.
Japan is doing a sterling job of breaking down the gender divide that dominates the global metal scene at the moment. The general perception is that women don’t seem to have much of a place in metal, and that female singers are a niche or a novelty. However, Japan is challenging that perception with what is locally known as the “Girls Metal Band Boom”, which has seen dozens of all-girl metal bands break through into the Japanese metal scene. One of the latest bands to emerge from this, BRIDEAR
, combine the power metal influenced style of most bands in the scene and give it that little bit of metalcore edge to set themselves apart from the others. Now with new EP Rise
, BRIDEAR are looking to further develop their own distinct style.
From opening track and lead single “IGNITE”, it’s plain to see how this band has evolved since 2016’s BARYTE
thrust them into the scene. Kai’s drumming and Haru's bass are more straightforward, but they complement the more unconventional and melodic riffs of guitarists Misa and Mitsuru. The harsh vocals are sparingly used, but accentuate parts of the song when necessary while the vocal trade-offs in the chorus drill the melody deep into your brain, such as can also be heard in closer “Get Over”. One thing you can guarantee with BRIDEAR is that Kimi knows how to create fantastic vocal hooks which will be stuck in your head for days.
However, “IGNITE” isn’t the only potential route that BRIDEAR could be taking from Rise
. The nu metal-esque leads of “raider” create a sort of 90s vibe within the track, contrasting and conflicting with the forays into metalcore and power metal that emerge within the very same track. These girls are starting to create a distinct identity and penchant for experimenting, as keyboards drive an electronic break before another power metal chorus and metalcore chugging, seamlessly shifting from what feel like very different styles. Over the course of 4 tracks, there is more than enough variety to keep the overall listening experience engaging and interesting, although there is still an undeniable core element that anchors them and prevents the tracks from becoming so eclectic that it becomes jarring.
The main issue with Rise
is that BRIDEAR seem to be trying to do too much and not every experiment pays off. The autotune that they use in some segments, such as in the more melodic “Remedy”, can feel very off-putting and take away from what is actually a solid moment of more laid back rock, with a nice prog-sounding solo trade-off between Misa and Mitsuru. Of course, with every attempt to evolve and experiment, there will be successes and failures, so you can forgive the band for making some mistakes as they continue to let their creativity flow. An EP is the perfect place to have this freedom as well, as the course of an album depends considerably more on a sense of consistency and some overarching themes – something that isn’t particularly necessary on a 4 track EP.
shows that BRIDEAR
are already taking significant strides to evolve, even though it’s been less than a year since BARYTE
, with it's blend of power metal and early Avenged Sevenfold's approach to metalcore, was released. While there are some slight missteps, this is the best place to make those mistakes and learn from them, rather than carry these mistakes into a full length which will be under considerably more critical scrutiny. The Girls Metal Band Boom in Japan is doing a great deal of good for women in metal, and metal in general, and we can only hope that this movement continues to grow and produce more fantastic acts like BRIDEAR.