Hot off the Press

Silencer | The Great Bear

by Justin Gaines
– News Editor / Senior Columnist —

SilencerHere’s one that sneaked by us last year, but is very much worth another look. The Great Bear is the third full-length release from Silencer, a Denver-based metal band that has been active since the late 1990s. Silencer is a tough band to classify. Thrash metal seems the easiest label, and thrash is definitely at the heart of their sound, but they’re a very creative band and with this album they have a more avant-garde, almost progressive approach that makes for a very compelling listening experience.

The Great Bear is a concept album focused on the space race between the USA and the Soviets in the ‘50s and ‘60s, which seems like unusual subject matter for a metal album. Still, Silencer makes it work, weaving the story across this surprisingly short album (the eleven tracks span just 30 minutes). Honestly, the whole thing feels like one monster 30-minute song, and it’s to Silencer’s credit that it stays completely fascinating throughout, even during the handful of instrumental interludes. The way the thrashing riffs give way to almost doom-like heaviness and then slow down for tranquil moments is handled very well, and when the gruff (but not growled) vocals factor in it’s like some otherworldly Testament/King Crimson hybrid.

This is a very surprising, very impressive release, and one that should hold some appeal to a good cross section of metal fans. Obviously there’s a lot for thrash metal fans to enjoy, but The Great Bear should also grab fans of the more melodic power/thrash bands like Vicious Rumors and Heathen as well as more progressive minded bands like Believer and Alchemist. In a genre that’s not often known for its creativity and innovation, it’s great to see a band like Silencer that is not content to play by the usual rules, and is willing to stretch the boundaries and create something unique.

Genre: Thrash Metal

Patrick Russell (b)
Alex Simpson (d)
Dan Lynn (g)
Keith Spargo (v) (g)

Track Listing:
1. Sacred War
2. I Am Thunder!
3. 1969
4. The Great Bear
5. Insignia
6. Star City, Pt. I
7. Star City, Pt. II
8. Orders/Noble Sacrifice
9. The Roar
10. Light
11. The First, The Last

Label: Vanity Music Group


Hardrock Haven rating: 8.75/10