Album review: BRIDEAR – Born Again

Japanese power metallers BRIDEAR balance sweet melody and savage munch on massive fifth album, Born Again.

Album review: BRIDEAR – Born Again
Sam Law

Boundaries have been broken and borders dissolved forever in the world of metal, but there tends to remain a stylistic East/West divide that few bands have convincingly bridged. BRIDEAR manage much better than most. Over the course of five albums, a smattering of EPs and live releases, the all-female Fukuoka collective have sharpened their shred-heavy Euro-power metal attack while retaining the flavour of the land of the rising sun.

Contrary to its title, Born Again doesn’t feel like a grand reinvention. Instead, they’ve doubled-down on all those old-school sensibilities and melodic eccentricities, teaming with legendary Swedish producer Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates, Bring Me The Horizon, In Flames) for perhaps their most defiantly metallic record yet. From Still Burning’s stabbing attack and Braver Words’ proggy flourishes to the immediate swell of six-string soloing from ‘Sukiyaki Sisters’ Ayumi and Moe there’s a self-confidence in their big vision. And although the swerves between route-one riffage and euphoric choruses are a little formulaic, they’re damned effective.

Cutting edge or agonisingly cool, of course, Born Again is not. There’s nothing like BABYMETAL’s recent Kingslayer mega-crossover with BMTH, for instance. Instead, we get the epic sprawl of the title-track, the oppressive cacophony of Empty Mind and a closing cameo from Dream Evil vocalist Nick Night on Die Like This as the album races fast and furious to a maximalist climax.

And that’s absolutely fine. BRIDEAR are a band borne from love for metal’s colourful past, and there’s a lot to love about seeing classic sounds repurposed to write a thrilling new chapter – with enough invention and individuality for a few crowd-pleasing twists in the tale.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: LOVEBITES, DragonForce, Helloween

Born Again is out now via Psychomanteum.

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