In a culture flooded with remarkable album art, it’s a sad reality that not every album can live up to the greatness of it’s cover. Bear Mace, however, went the extra mile to make sure their thrash-infused breed of death metal meets the standard set by the monochrome bear that graces the cover of Butchering the Colossus. The album packs a brutal and unrelenting punch across it’s eight tracks, all the while subtly acknowledging and embracing the over-the-top absurdity of death metal culture. It’s certainly comparable to a massive mammalian carnivore roaring over a city skyline – probably not the exact comparison I would have come up with, but it works.
The vocals lack range, and generally remain consistent across every song. But what the vocalist is missing in diversity, he more than makes up for with his mucusy, frightening, and borderline inhuman roars. The enunciation is spot on as well, which is always appreciated. The way that the lyrics rumble and spit out along the riffs makes Bear Mace almost sound like the American flavor of Bolt Thrower, although the lyrical content is much more fantasy driven. This serves to make the music captivating from a narrative perspective, and powerful and awe-inspiring from a musical one.
There’s a sense of confidence that should catch your attention right from the start – the band isn’t afraid to get lively with the drumming or riffing, and there’s an excess of technique incorporated. It’s a very dynamic record, with obvious thrash elements that make it especially dynamic. Solos are seemingly introduced on tracks like “Lord Devourer of the Dead” and “Butchering the Colossus” at the perfect time, working to break up any monotony that starts to develop. This doesn’t work flawlessly, though; Butchering the Colossus never devolves into the same riffs played ad nauseum, but also avoids rushing through different tricks for the sake of showing off. Bear Mace has hit very close to the sweet spot in between, but there are still parts where the magic wears off and the music becomes too predictable. These lulls never last long, but they take the wind out of the sails of the record.
The way that the consistently low vocals contrast the wild but professionally executed instrumentals develops an intimidating core for Butchering of the Colossus, which paves the way for every twist and turn thrown in along the ride. Apart from some minor shortcomings, Bear Mace has created a ferociously groovy take on death metal that should not be missed.
Butchering the Colossus is now available digitally and physically via their Bandcamp page.