HELIX is the most sonically diverse BRIDEAR offering do date. Attempting to categorize it collectively is a futile endeavour. The song Dear Bride is a sugar-coated pop number which barely crosses into rock territory. The associated music video caused a panic among the die-hard fans. Inversely, G·A·M·E is as heavy hitting as anything they have done. It features extremely down-tuned guitars playing complex riffs and some terrifying screaming vocals (performed by a session artist). Ironically, both these tracks were written by Mitsuru. The rest of the songs fall somewhere between these two. So keep your hands inside the car at all times and hang on.
After the departure of longtime guitarist Misa, there was speculation that they would evolve into a more traditional metal sound. HELIX proves that they have only become more progressive. You won’t hear two power chords played consecutively, as the rhythm guitar parts are just as acrobatic as the solos, a la Jeff Loomis in Conquering Dystopia. Some of the songs employ fairly bizarre time signatures, as well. If your favourite thing about BRIDEAR was the wailing twin guitars that race over each other in amazing harmony, then you will have plenty to smile about.
The band noted in the release notes, and in social media, that BRIDEAR was transitioning from heavy metal to mainstream rock. However, BRIDEAR has always been very close to that line, and the difference between HELIX and BARYTE or Overturn the Doom is almost indistinguishable, from a genre-defining perspective. But it feels more bi-polar than previous releases.
HELIX – obligatory short intro that has nothing to do with the rest of the album
Reason For My Life – the shortest song (excluding intro): sounds the most like classic BRIDEAR
In The Labyrinth – a lighthearted sounding tune, but somewhat forgettable
G·A·M·E – The deepest, darkest riffs make for the most headbangable track
Dear Bride – either a syrupy tune designed to attract metal-fearing fans, or an audition for a slice-of-life anime intro
cluster amaryllis* – they dive back into the metal end of the pool with Iron Maiden-like guitar harmonies
NEXUS – The best riff on the album opens this track and paves the way for the best guitar solo(s)
*NOTE: track names are transposed as they appear on the official release
Conclusion: BRIDEAR is always brilliant, especially for guitar-lovers, and this album doesn’t disappoint in that department. However, this disc won’t occupy your CD player for very long before you cherry-pick your favourite songs into a playlist and jettison the rest. In an album that probably has something for everybody, but little to offer the individual listener.
*NOTE: Opinions about the attitude of a song are based on the instrumental sound. This writer doesn’t understand a word of what is being sung.
Kimi – Vocals
Mitsuru – Guitar
Misaki – Guitar
Haru – Bass
Kai – Drums