Big Bear

Big Bear

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Not to be confused with the late-'90s rapper, this Big Bear is an experimental metal quintet from Allston, MA, the dingy student-ghetto part of Boston that's more commonly home to generations of sullen punk and jangly indie bands. On their first album, Big Bear sound like some kind of unholy fusion of Squirrel Bait's angular, fractured take on '80s hardcore and the fearless experimentalism of some of the Japanese noise bands. The 12 untitled tracks keep away from traditional song structures, but they're not just abstract blurts of noise, either. Singer and tambourine player Jordyn Bonds shrieks her elliptical lyrics in a tortured wail that eclipses their conventional meaning (lyrics are helpfully provided), in much the same way that guitarists John McWilliams and Joel Roston demolish the usual demarcation between "lead" and "rhythm" guitar in favor of a dual fascination with inchoate noise and the punishing forward thrust of hardcore, a combination most fully explored in the breakneck dynamic shifts of the seventh track. Big Bear can be too much to take at times, but only in the best possible way.

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