Battlebear is a Toronto metal band here with their debut EP Grimm Horton’s. With just six tracks, the band gives out a small dose of punishing death metal without taking themselves too seriously. With Trailer Park Boys references, songs about murderous circus animals, and a bizarre album cover from Sean Arsenian of The Great Sabatini, Grimm Horton’s might not reinvent the wheels of torment, but it’s a fun listen nonetheless.
The album jumps right into things with the song “Forked Tongue,” a pummelling track that toes the line between death metal and punk in a fashion similar to bands like Homewrecker. The opening track leads right into my favourite, “Cowards.” The second track opens up with some more intricate guitarwork that reminds me of more grindy bands like See You Next Tuesday. Noah Lambert experiments a little bit with some higher vocals throughout the song and the slower, groovy section halfway through the track had me drumming on my steering wheel. “Cowards” is the longest song on the album, but it’s diverse enough to keep my attention throughout; something I wish the band had employed on the rest of the EP.
Although the playing is solid throughout, Battlebear don’t have much in the way of variety. There are no real duds, but Grimm Horton’s all just sort of blends together by the end of it. That might be a plus for you, but I would’ve preferred a few more unique moments. “Mystery Box” and “Battlebear” don’t sound different enough to me to be sequenced so close together. By the time it gets to the EP’s titular closing track, it already feels like we’ve heard everything that Battlebear have to offer.
Grimm Horton’s is a brutal release. Battlebear bring heavy instrumentals and vocals on every track but have enough fun doing it to make for an enjoyable listen. I would’ve liked a bit more diversity from the band, but I’ll definitely be going back to at least a handful of tracks. Being that it’s the band’s first proper release, I’m curious to hear what they do in the future.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Danielle Kenedy