Antwerp’s own metallic hardcore quartet, BEAR, have unleashed “Defeatist,” the closing salvo before their eagerly awaited fifth album, “VANTA,” hits the shelves on September 29 via the eminent Pelagic Records out of Berlin.
Frontman Maarten Albrechts’ signature growls are at the forefront, melding seamlessly with the band’s complex rhythmic structures, guttural guitars, and churning bass lines. The track serves as a battle anthem born from guitarist James Falck’s struggle with cancer—a haunting yet defiant sonic journey reflecting the torment, fear, and resilience that the group has had to muster to stay resilient when the odds seemed stacked against them.
However, don’t mistake “Defeatist” as a mere continuation of what BEAR has previously offered. The track presents an evolved, contemplative version of the band, an aural tapestry woven with newfound maturity and reflective artistry. This is underscored by an ethereal saxophone interlude, courtesy of Vincent Breys from Belgian jazz-fusion collective BRZZVLL. This unexpected but harmonious detour uplifts the listener from the abyss of uncertainty, offering a glimpse of hope.
“VANTA” is no less expansive in its musical ambitions. Beyond the familiar metallic hardcore, the album is layered with atmospheric textures, guest vocals from Stefan De Graef of Psychonaut, and intricate production details from Chiaran Verheyden of Hippotraktor. Whether it’s the experimental drumming influenced by house music or the authentic human screams interspersed throughout, “VANTA” stands as a testament to BEAR’s ability to grow artistically, even when cloaked in darkness.
Sharing their thoughts on “Defeatist,” BEAR states, “This track marks a departure for us. While maintaining the essence of our sonic identity, we wanted to amplify the focus on dynamics and intensity, rather than just speed and aggression. The inclusion of Vincent Brijs’s sax solo opens a new chapter for us—a dimension we hadn’t considered before. Hold on tight, it’s a wild ride.”