Swedish easycore band Abandoned By Bears hit the scene early in 2013 with their four-track EP Bear-Sides (get it?) before following up with a second in 2014. The band’s debut album The Years Ahead came in 2016 and impressed both pop punk and hardcore fans alike. And it’s their djent inspired guitar riffing and double bass drumming in pop punk songs like ‘Good Terms’ and ‘Compromise’ that eventually became the band’s discernible trademark.
Headstorm opens with ‘So Far Gone,’ one of my favourite tracks off the album. It begins with punchy guitar chords and transitions nicely into a chuggy breakdown pattern in the pre-chorus. A super catchy chorus is where the title lyric becomes the main hook and a palm muted rhythmic guitar and clean drum roll brings the song to an end. Next up is the title track ‘Headstorm,’ which was the first single released off the EP. It starts rather abruptly and the lead in to the chorus is a bit plain but that being said, it comes back around with a nice easy chorus and that ear catching hook “I wish you’d stay here.” The second verse is a banger and those notes during the bridge accompany the good clean vocals.
Both ‘Strangers’ and ‘Held Against You’ are two other standouts. The first opens with a memorable busy guitar riff that, combined with the synth towards the end, serves as a throwback to the band’s early songs like ‘Peter You’re Not Allowed In The City.’ It’s polyrhythmic in nature and impossible not to groove along to. ‘Held Against You’ comes after the mandatory ballad ‘Outrun Reality,’ and picks that pop punk tempo right back up. The upbeat guitar, bouncy verses and hook driven chorus, sees the song emerge as one of the best here, both lyrically and musically.
‘Blurry Vision’ starts with a gut busting easycore riff, followed by a rare slow section. While the chorus isn’t as effective, the upside comes from the “whoah” sing-a-long after a hardcore second verse—the finish to the track is bound to get heads banging too. ‘Drowned Out’ has a unique lead guitar under its opening djent riff and we get to hear some duelling vocals and sweet drumming chops. The second verse is a little different because they strip it right back to vocals, before finishing strong with some quick strumming, followed by a diverse set of riffs.
‘Greyscale’ closes out the album and it’s by far the heaviest track on Headstorm. Clean guitar picks in, followed by another big riff reminiscent of something from Wage War. Elements of hardcore and metal are showcased through big verses, angsty lyrics and hard drumming, complete with bass bombs and all. Overall Headstorm is a solid album.
Rating: 8/10 double kicks.
Recommended to fans of: Chunk No Captain Chunk, A Day To Remember and Carousel Kings.
Headstorm is out now.
Headstorm is available for purchase here.
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