Silencer (US) - The Great Bear
Vanity Music Group
Heavy Metal
11 songs (30'18)
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Olivier

American Silencer - not to be mistaken with the (pretty good) Swedish grandmother-fronted Depressive Black Metal band - is back with a third offering entitled The Great Bear, and this is a very interesting one. It is a conceptual album about a fictional space race between Americans and Soviets, pretty much like the one that really happened but only with a different development, and above all from the Soviet perspective. Now that's interesting. Although unfortunately, the album is - while being good - far from being flawless.

First of all, thirty minutes. This is how long the effort lasts. Less than that if you take out the instrumentals and transitions (although you should not, a word on them later). This is err... short. Especially with that kind of topic for an album. You could easily (so to speak) make it something long, epic, thoughtful and profound. This is simply too quick, the album is over already by the time you find yourself neck-deep into the voyage. Very frustrating. Secondly, FIVE instrumentals/ambiance tracks over the eleven the album proposes. I cannot help thinking: unbalanced, friends. While I like all of five of them, they are overwhelming. The album would need either more tracks, or longer tracks. Which leads me to my third grudge: the tracks are too short. The longest song here, Orders / Noble Sacrifice, is only 4'35 long, everything thing else is (much) shorter. Again: this is really frustrating.

But now, what are the pros? Well, all the rest, basically. The music is good if not great, and features great moments. From the aggressive loud rolling riffs of the speedy I Am Thunder, to the slow, thick sound wall of Great Bear (those drums!) and Insignia, the overall feeling of this album is really enjoyable and can be pretty intense. My personal favourite would be Star City Part I and its neck-crushing loud and fat mid-tempo riff. Seriously, just pump the volume up to the top, and let it flow. It almost has this stoner sounding, but ballsier. And since they are a huge part of the CD, a word on the instrumentals. As I said, I like them all, although they all are different. While Sacred War is your traditional glorious introductory track, 1969 is an extremely tasty, badass and eerie ambiance track (honestly I found myself reaching for the album only to hear this little track, if anyone knows what the men exactly say in Russian, please feel free to use the forum thread to enlighten us. You can guess what the big picture is pretty easily with what you can hear in the background of course, and with the rest of the album. The lyrics were not provided with the promo I used for this review, and doubtlessly (hopefully) everything is explained in the booklet). The... roaring The Roar is another stellar instrumental, and the spacey Star City Part II excels in making you feel up there (that bass!). And finally, the fifth instrumental The First, the Last ends the album with the blazing glory of a good ol' Russian choir. An only fitting... and bitter ending (you'll see).

Bottom-line: while it is too short and features too many instrumentals (or more precisely not enough actual songs), The Great Bear is a pretty good effort, well worth a listen at the very least. Just do not expect fast-paced songs or insane technique, because you will not find those here. Also, be aware that this album has nothing to do with the band previous releases. Silencer's The Great Bear is all about majestic sound walls, gloomy/spacey ambiance and loud riffs. And honestly, they are damned good at what they do.

Official website
Killing Songs :
1969, Great Bear, Insignia, Star City Part I & II, The Roar.
Olivier quoted 77 / 100
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