Reviewed by Sagiv Shaniv
Album: The Great Bear
Label: Vanity Music Group
Release Date: September 25th 2012
1. Sacred War
2. I Am Thunder!
4. Great Bear
6. Star City pt. 1
7. Star City pt. 2
8. Orders / Noble Sacrifice
9. The Roar
11. The First, The Last
Versatile, I think that’s the word to describe this album. It is easy to notice this is not Silencer’s first record: With tight recordings and a high level of playing and (most of the time) production, the group takes their special sound to a higher level.
The album is a concept one, which focuses on the American-Soviet space race in the 50’- 60’ and takes a step forward, raising some “What if” questions concerning the soviet side, asking what might have happened if the Russians were to one-up the American’s moon landing by going somewhere further.
The album is rather short, lasting no more than half an hour, which is quite short a time to spread the conceptual story the band wants to introduce us to.
The album is very thrash-influenced, but it carries some other style characteristics, such as power metal choruses and bigger-than-life harmonies, progressive gentle, smooth playing, and even semi-doom parts. This entire blend fits very well into the story and most importantly coexists with Keith Spargo’s harsh voice that reminds me of Rob Flynn’s besides its lack of hoarseness.
We open with a bombastic-to-quiet short instrumental of Russian scent, quickly getting us into the story. “I Am Thunder” is an excellent thrash song that if it would’ve been released 20 years ago would’ve been much more recognized and known, for it belongs to the kind of songs that were released during that period.
“1969” is some talking in Russian that I still need to call my Russian friends to translate for me… “Great Bear” is a rather regular power-thrash song, with nice bridges and verses, but nothing beyond. I consider this song a low-point in the album, mostly for the production, that is yet still overall good.
“Insignia” and “Star City pt. 1” are nice tracks but nothing outstanding to talk about, though I must say the guitar solo on the former is no less than impressive.
“Star City pt. 2” is undoubtedly the “break” in the album, being silent and calm, a perfect preparation for the album’s highlight – “Orders / Noble Sacrifice”, a top-notch powerful thrash song, with a mighty chorus and a prog outro that fits into this one like a slap to a guy’s face by his girlfriend after she found out he was cheating on her two days before prom (!).
The last three songs are a nice closure to the album, keeping its line perfectly.
The last track is an impressive Russian chant, to which you cannot listen without imagining crowds marching in front of comrade Stalin.
In the end, it is a nice album, that one will probably enjoy listening to, but it won’t be one that will be remembered for a very long time (unless you are a Russian metalhead or something, I guess) by the common listener.
I recommend this album as a nice piece of modern metal, but call you not to expect anything new or outstanding.
Keith Spargo – vocals, guitars
Dan Lynn – guitars
Patrick Russell – bass
Alex Simpson – drums