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Monday, October 5, 2015

Review: Bear Bone Company - Bear Bone Company

Bear Bone Company? Really, I have no clue. A little internet search reveals a Facebook page and a handful of sites that have copied most of the contents of that page to their own. Not much to go on, but that is just as well, the cleaner you listen to an album, the less biased you usually are. Apparently they are a trio hailing from Örebro, Sweden: B.K. is responsible for the guitar work and vocals, Knauz takes care of the drums and J. Martin is bass player and vocalist in the band. The band was founded in 2012 and as far as I can trace this self-titled album is their first feat of arms, so it’s not surprising there’s not much around about these guys. According to the band’s own judgement, which I have learned is usually not the most objective, Bear Bone Company provides ‘the next exit for the seeker of bourbon-soaked and pure, heavy rock’ with their music. What does this mean for their music? Well, according to the guys this quote should cover it: ‘think Kiss meets Pantera and they all go partying at the famous Hollywood bar Rainbow where they hit it off with members from Black Label Society, Gary Moore, Foo Fighters and more.’ Let’s find out.

The album starts with ‘Fade’, which proves to be a perfect indication of what this band and this album are all about. It has a catchy riff and ditto chorus, completed with strong vocals that are genre-correct. The rhythm section is well aligned with the song, making this very pleasant on the ears, provided this type of music is your cup of tea of course. To top it off there’s the mandatory, but good solo as well, so in fact this song has all the ingredients you’d expect from the band’s own description. Not a bad start, but sadly the concept used in the first song also applies to about every single song on the album, which for me personally caused boredom to strike pretty fast. The second song, ‘Kiss ‘n tell’, could be a slower copy of the album opener, apart from the solo.

That right there is the major weakness of this album. Almost all songs are more or less interchangeable with each other and even with a lot of songs from the same genre. There’s twelve songs on this album, and as far as I’m concerned eleven of them can be classified as run-of-the-mill hard rock songs, with, I’ll give them that, good, relevant, sometimes even a little Yngwie-esque solos, that actually add something to the songs. Try the ones in ‘Hangin’’ and ‘Fallin’ down’. There’s only one song that stands out music-wise, be it only a little, and that is ‘Down in flames’. It has a more heavy feel to it, mainly due to the slower pace and the lower toned guitar riff.

So overall there’s not a lot of differences between the individual songs, they pretty much follow the same setup. I won’t go as far as saying this album is one long blur of similar noise, it has too much quality for that, but if you’re looking for variety you’ll have to find something else. Apart from that there’s nothing new to what these guys come up with, up until the abundance of apostrophes in the song titles, which is perfectly fine if that’s what you’re after, but that too does influence my personal judgement. The skill of the members however is unmistakable. The vocals are flawless, touching Creed’s Scott Stapp here and there. The guitar work is impeccable, especially in the solos, and both the drum- and the bass lines are expertly executed. It’s definitely not a bad album, but the lack of originality and variety in the songs keeps it from getting a higher rate than average in my opinion. I more than once get the feeling I have heard it before. I’m sure this one works for true fans of the genre, but people who weren’t into this type of music in the first place won’t hear anything that will make them change their minds. An average composed album in an overgrown genre solidly played by skilled musicians.

Written by Henric van Essen


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