Released on: 10 December 2010
They’re from: Lafayette, Louisiana
Sounds like: A mosh pit in thick pool of Budweiser and crawfish etouffee in the bed of a rusty pick-up truck.
Hear it: http://bit.ly/fightbears
I had originally stumbled upon Bearfighter when I was covering the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands for Decoy Music, though I never had the chance to actually feature them. Big mistake. The band recently released their debut EP Vices up for free download in honor of Shark Week (the namesake of track six), which finally gave me an excuse to hop into my steel cage and submerge myself in the sharktasticness that is Bearfighter.
The run-down on Bearfighter’s sound? I’m gonna catch hell for this, but think Maylene— just better: unmistakably gritty, undeniably southern, and unrelentingly catchy. It’s rowdy, raucous party music that meets somewhere at the crossroads of Every Time I Die, glassJaw and Secret Lives! Of the Freemasons. “A fun listen” doesn’t even begin to do Vices justice.
The EP’s first proper track, “Swampthing Since ‘86” comes barreling out the gate with thick, chunky guitar, a marching drum beat, and vocals like beer-battered, deep-fried sandpaper, courtesy of Destin Ortego. They’re just perfect for this genre. And the slick, hook-laden chorus that follows is but a brief detour, as a downright filthy breakdown kicks up mud like spinning tires on a dirt road before the song closes with a driving guitar line and chanting gang vocals, bleeding directly into the next track, “Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads.” The track serves up a heaping helping of punk influence without straying far from its southern roots, even while incorporating a haunting piano line behind the churning guitar and bass.
“Dorothy the Show Girl” and “Pyromania” show off the poppier, catchier side of Bearfighter: there are more cleans, but just as much southern swagger. “Shark Week” brings back the hardcore in a big way, complete with the classic end-of-song-fakeout, moment-of-silence-then-oh-shit-call-Triple-A-breakdown. And album closer “Looky Looky I Got Hooky” flips the switch between heavy and catchy with reckless abandon.
If you’ve got an itch for southern hardcore you need scratched, Bearfighter’s Vices is a buzz saw. And the current price tag is “Free,” so you have no excuse. But when we’re talking about this band, a couple of bucks for six meaty tracks is a bargain. If I wanted to recommend this any more highly, I’d have to grow taller.