You’d be forgiven for not being familiar with Abandoned By Bears. The Swedish easycore/pop-punkers have seemingly gone under the radar for many, despite being signed to Victory and an almost continuous touring and releasing schedule since their inception in 2012. However, latest release Headstorm will almost certainly go a long way to changing that.
The eleven tracks that make up Headstorm are each perfectly infused with the same blend of pop-punk, hard, fast-paced metal and elements of easycore on which Abandoned By Bears have built their name. The back and forth between dual vocalists Fredric Andersson and Leon Ekelund compliment everything put forward by guitarist Jacob Devinder, bassist Gustav Eriksson and drummer Max Fahlman.
There is a natural progression on display in Headstorm when compared to 2016’s The Years Ahead. The heavier elements have been streamlined, giving way to more technical, more pop-punky and more upbeat moments. That is not to say the heavier elements have been removed. Far from it. Track eleven and album closer ‘GreyScale’ is arguably the heaviest track in Abandoned By Bears’s back catalogue and one that closes the album in the most spectacular fashion in the way it draws you in from the outset and refuses to relent until the end.
By comparison, album opener ‘So Far Gone’ is a little lacklustre. A good track, but one that feels almost like a prelude to track two and title track ‘Headstorm’, which really kicks things off in style and sets the pace for what’s to come. Track three ‘Strangers’ offers glimpses of their past, combining the heavy with the upbeat in the way only Abandoned By Bears can.
The stand out tracks are track four, ‘Borderline’ and track eight, ‘Drowned Out’. These are both outstanding displays of not only how far Abandoned By Bears have come, but also how much further they can go. ‘Borderline’ is something of a perfect example of what so many bands try to do, but so few are capable of, which is to strike an almost seamless balance between so many different and conflicting parts, yet create something if not unique, then certainly close.
Abandoned By Bears are gaining a reputation for becoming one of the hardest working bands of the genre, and it is not hard to see why. The end result of that work, dedication and passion is Headstorm and with a release this good now, it can only mean better things going forward.