Review: Bear Bone Company – 'Bear Bone Company'

The promise of ‘no compromise’, honest heavy rock, meant I had no choice but to grab at the chance to review the self titled debut release from Bear Bone Company. On first listen, I would’ve sworn I was listening to a band from the west coast of America. Bear Bone Company have all the swagger, power, and attitude of the likes of Motley Crüe, Skid Row, and Metallica. Riffs, power and THAT voice led me on an internet search for information. Unfortunately, I was left seriously wanting, apart from the band’s Facebook page, an interview in Swedish and one or two reviews, there is not a lot to find, which is a real shame as their class and musicianship deserves to be shouted about, or at least have an official website.

Despite the lack of information, I managed to work out that the Bear Bone Company is: Bjorn K (Guitar and lead vocals), Knauz (Drums), and J. Martin (Bass and vocals), and apart from a few upcoming gigs, not much else!! Let’s hope the getting together with Sliptrick Records changes things on the publicity front.

After my first impression of American heritage, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in fact the band hail from Örebro in Sweden, and although not exactly five minutes away from me, it is close enough to give me a strong chance of seeing them live in the near future. Their stripped back ‘Bare Bones’ approach really appeals to me, a no nonsense, no frills three-piece, delivering powerful rock/metal music without apology. It really doesn’t get much better!!

As far as I can work out, Bjorn seems to be the driving force behind the band, penning most of the music, and pretty much all of the lyrics. He is obviously a serious talent. The guitar work is top class, from a bluesy lick to full on shredding, he has the chops to rival the best in the business. His vocals are every rock bands dream. Powerful, whiskey-soaked pipes that bring the likes of Dio, Paul Stanley, and dare I say it, Paul Rogers to mind, although sometimes its as though the vocals get left behind the guitar work.

‘Fade’ kicks off the rollercoaster with pace and power, fulfilling all that I expected from this band. Superb musicianship, stellar vocals and just a fucking great rock song. Hints of Dio with the stabs when the solo comes in, and then some shredding to be proud of, not meaningless noise, I am talking musical scales that make sense with the rest of the track. The vocals are superb, all aspects of Bjorn’s range and power are put to use, as well as melody and harmony.

‘Kiss And Tell’ and the superb ‘Don’t Be Long’ carry on the quality of power and melody. ‘Don’t Be Long’ has a chorus worthy of any of the top rock acts out there, with guitar work to match. As I seem to have to have concentrated on the guitar and vocals of Mr K, I would at this point like to point out the serious work being done by the rhythm section. The drums of Knauz are so solid and tasteful, as is the excellent and agile bass playing of Mr Martin. They are true to the cause, and without them this just would not work. Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain come to mind when I listen to these guys, and I don’t say that lightly. As a bass player myself, I have a little understanding of all things rhythmical.

The album now settles into its stride and carries on in much the same vain but, if like me, crunchin’ riffs, power bass, drums, and vocals is your thing, then we are in heaven and there is nothing wrong with the album carrying on as is. ‘Hanginn’ (not sure if its a Swedism or a misspelling) however, wakes us from the slumber with a masterclass in rock vocal technique. This really is a special song, with all musical elements coming together to give us a power track with hints of Lynrd Skynrd and Blackfoot in the chorus, and then with a key change, we are up into Bon Jovi solo territory. I am not just dropping these big names for the sake of it, but because the track has enough quality to deserve the comparison.

This is a true feast of unadulterated heavy rock that holds it’s head up high, struts its stuff, and pulls no punches. It harks back to the ’80s as well as pointing forward and showing the way. It shows a lot of wannabes that musicianship, songwriting and honesty is always the best policy. The sooner I see Bear Bone Company live the better.

Reviewer: Simon Larkin

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