During my three years at university studying history, one of the modules I studied was about the Cold War; a rivalry and in some part a conflict, yet stalemate between the Western power of the USA and Soviet Russia. One major theme in this period of history was the ‘Space Race’; the game of one-upmanship between the two in the development of space travel. Of course this essentially culminated in the famous American moon-landing. On their third album, “The Great Bear”, Denver thrashers Silencer raise the fascinating scenario of what if the USSR instead bettered this.
In my opinion at least, this imaginative concept fuels a lot of interest, and is portrayed rather well through the music. Taken from the perspective of Soviet Russia, the moods expected; such as one of determination to push on and improve are well captured, particularly in the latter half of the album.
Sonically, aside from the concept, this is pretty straight forward, old school feel thrash metal. Taking a less extreme route than previous material, vocals are clean with all signs of growling gone; whilst the songs are at easy to digest times. There are a few points where things take a darker and more atmospheric turn, such as in the instrumental passages of ‘1969’ and ‘Star City pt 2’ but otherwise outside if its storyline “The Great Bear” lends itself to a very familiar and simplistic air.
There is a lack of really memorable riffs, however, that does hamper proceedings. Such a huge and grandiose tale could have done with a few more massive songs, instead much of the riffs are a bit too tame. Conceptually, this album has a great degree of intrigue however, and musically it may still be worth checking out. Just some bigger riffs could have made this a roaring success (no pun intended).