Album review: BRIDEAR – Aegis Of Athena

Setsuzoku Records [Release date 13.05.22]

All girl band, Bridear, from Fukuoka, Japan has created a global fanbase since its inception in 2014. Aegis of Athena is its third album.

The band’s skilful merge of Melodic Metal and J-Pop might not be to everyone’s taste, but the previous two albums, both best sellers, and more recent sold out tours worldwide suggest there is a sizeable number who lap it up.

Nine and half minute opener, ‘Side Of A Bullet’ says “this is us”. It just screams “commercial”, “accessible”. The orchestration, the pop melodies, the vocal build up, the progmetal keyboard touches, all of these constituent pieces are perfectly judged. They lead us by the nose into Symphonic metal verse and chorus, as good as anything from Evanescence or Within Temptation.

It’s a bold, imaginative beginning.

‘Determination’, the first single and ‘Ray Of Chaos’, the second, run through amazing changes of pace and style, one moment it’s gutsy J-pop, next its hardfaced, densely packed melodic metal, each packing a powerful hook, delivered at pace. The music just doesn’t stop, it’s so propulsive.

Both tracks gain an operatic momentum through the verse and bridge, taking on a symphonic rock mantle as the hook gets driven home.

The number of genre influences they consume and digest without breaking stride is breathtaking. ‘Preference’ and ‘Brave New World’ go pinballing in all directions, ricocheting off Amaranthe’s groundbreaking power/melodic metal mix, colliding with the glittery pomp metal of Epica, then bouncing back into J-Pop territory. Their real talent perhaps, is in bringing all these strands together, then skillfully knotting them into one continuous piece of music.

And it’s music with a driving, relentless energy, delivered with precision and poise, and apart from the fact that some tracks are overlong, there are no weaknesses here.

Bridear is a band who clearly know exactly how they want to sound.

Aegis Of Athena is the proof. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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Power Plays w/c 13 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
IVORY SKIES – Bring Me Up (indie)
HONG FAUX Feign Death To Stay Alive (Golden Robot Records)
OVERLAPS Mind Over Matter (indie)
SOLE SYNDICATE – Brave Enough (Scarlet Records)
DAVID PAICH Spirit Of The Moonrise (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS The River (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 13 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 DEF LEPPARD Diamond Star Halos (BMG)
12:00-13:00 LONERIDER Sundown (Escape Music)
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