Silencer - The great bear 4/5

Reviewed: 12-1-12


1. Sacred war
2. I am thunder!
3. 1969
4. 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

The 3d full-length CD from Denver’s Silencer is a primal, roaring beast of original metal. It offers the angry savagery more extreme bands strive for, but forged with a sense of melody and clearer humanity. The lyrics are a conceptual science-fictional account of an ascendant Soviet space program, and it fits the unique music perfectly.

While this 30-minute release (the band is decidedly concise) eschews any easy sub-genre categorization, to try and get a handle for the overall sound, imagine an amalgam of Slayer’s ‘Christ illusion’, Testament’s ‘The gathering’ with Slough Feg, and it should also appeal to fans of the middle-ground for bands mid-way through their evolution from brutal death metal to more poppish strains, such as Tiamat’s ‘Clouds’ or Paradise Lost’s ‘Shades of God”.

Silencer had 2 EPs released prior to their 3 full-length CDs. The first ‘Kozmos' is a great slab of melodic thrash, but by ‘Death of awe’, their full-length debut CD, the band had evolved to more of a technical death metal sound, which, while impressive, wasn’t as near to my heart as an anthem I could sing along to. While this release has all the rumbling rage of a cruel Russian winter, the vocals are grounded in memorable choruses that burn their way into your brain with strength and presence, which to me is far more visceral than the typical death rasp. “I bring superior air power/Stare death in the eye” will quickly get etched into your head, while songs like “Star city, pt. I” have strong melodies forged in a sound that complements its Soviet setting.

The production for the CD is suitable to the music and concept, with a raw, warm sound that conjures up cold-war industrial technology. Keith Spargo is the vocalist, and as noted, his vocals combined leatherish strength with strong underlying melodies, and he’s grown in my estimation as a singer over the years, while still sharing the guitar work with Dan Lynn, and their innovative approach combines more traditional metal techniques with less traveled roads. Patrick Russell provides the raspy toned bass as a major contributor to the sound, while Alex Simpson provides the driving, compelling, rhythm centerpiece.

This is definitely not traditional power metal by any stretch of the imagination, but the innovation and ambience of the band’s sound is well worth checking out as a nice change of pace from the cleaner sounding European metal bands, and at its heart it still beats pure with the appeal of what I love about heavy metal.




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