Richmond, Virginia’s own Bearstorm (cracking name) have given us their first record on Grimoire Records entitled ‘Americanus’. A rollercoaster of prog and blackened death metal fury, ‘Americanus’ is looking like being one of 2015’s most challenging albums.

Opener and longest track, ‘Glacial Relic\Riparian Forest’ flows from the speakers like the bastard child of Mastodon and Enslaved. The musicianship is top notch, each convuluted segment meshing perfectly with the next into a joyous orgasm of dissonant melodies. This channels the spirit of progressive music beautifully, almost like if Enslaved had grown up in the Deep South rather than the frozen North. There’s a sense of freedom here, a flowing crash of thunder here and there when a death metal crush arrives amid spiralling guitar lines, and a rasping vocal adds that hint of blackness. Your first eleven minutes are spent wondering how Bearstorm will top THAT.

‘De Soto’ is more death metal than the previous track, a lot heavier with a more defined style. But that doesn’t stop it aping the crush prog doom of Mastodon’s ‘Leviathan’ in parts, particularly the octopus-like drumming. Ending with a ghostly, mountain acoustic moment belies a definite country backbone lurking with this beast somewhere. ‘Little Portals to the Greater Sadness’ opens with one of the best Clutch jams that they never wrote before barrelling off into a lost Southern sludgey b-side. ‘Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ is a choppy, blackened death romp with an insanely catchy main riff. Bearstorm suck me in with every track, each Mastodonism is perfectly meshed with more extreme moments to create something rather special.

Bearstorm’s ‘Americanus’ is like a glacial relic. It is like a young black/death metal band came across Mastodon’s uber riff/jagged melodies formula in 2004 and said, ‘this is what we want to do’. ‘Americanus’ is glorious in its adventurous spirit, raw in its delivery and full of great music. This is a band that are gonna be huge



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