You know what I love? Sludge and stoner metal. It manages to sound massive and threatening, yet also seems delicate and intricate in a way that is somehow beyond perception. Know what else I love? Bears. Bears are basically the animal embodiment of sludge metal. Imagine my joy when I found out that there was a band who specialised in sludge metal, and had the word ‘bear’ in their title. Now try to imagine my joy when I relaised how God-damned good they are.
Bear Chest are a doomish trio, hailing from the home of sludge and stoner metal, erm, Sheffield. Don’t let that put you off though, as after the widely positive reception of their first EP, My Bones, the group are back and sounding better than ever, with their second EP, Leather and Sweat, storming the eardrums of metal fans across the nation with it’s release earlier this month.
In the three years since the group’s prior release, Bear Chest seem to have focused on one thing: reaching the lowest possible note to play and shattering their listener’s brains in the process. Or, at least that is what can be taken from the track “Sphynx”. Opening on an intriguing and all-together un-sludgelike riff, which would not feel out of place if heard in a Mediterranean setting, Bear Chest draw you in close before smashing you straight in the face with an ungodly sounding barrage of distorted guitar notes somewhat resembling a slowed-down version of a riff. It is, without a doubt, glorious.
This style is a change of attitude from prior releases, where the band have not necessarily sounded cheerful, but had an inclining of more mainstream rock about them, banging out major-key chords and melodies. This step towards a significantly heavier and darker set, something even noticeable within the aesthetic of the “Sphynx” music video, proves that Bear Chest are maturing as a band, and discovering their true potential. They are stepping forwards as a band, and creating truly breathtaking music in the process.
Leather and Sweat is out now.