The Great Bear is my first experience with Denver, Colorado, metal band Silencer. Although over past 10 years, they've had some domestic and international success with their version of American thrash metal. The Great Bear is intended to be a concept album, one considering alternative history.
Revisiting the early space race between the United States and Russia, Silencer wonder what would have happened if Russia "chose to one-up the American's moon landing by going somewhere further." They tell the story from the perspective of the Russian nation and an individual member of the mission. Sounds promising, right? But how does it pan out?
First, while the album has 11 songs,The Great Bear is a short album, on 30 minutes long. But if you knock the one spoken piece, 1969, and the last piece, which sounds like the Russian national anthem, then you're down to nine songs and just better than 27 minutes. If it weren't for quantity of songs The Great Bear might have been considered an EP. Second, Silencer's music is more heavy metal and less thrash. It's more like meat and potatoes Eighties traditional metal, with a side of thrash thrown in. Alternatively, Silencer packs a lot into many of the songs, mostly a big bass line and massive amounts of riffage, with a guitar solo now and then. Of these tracks Great Bear, Star City, The Roar, and Orders/Sacrifice are the best picks.
Fundamentally, with The Great Bear, Silencer's desire is to propel the story with the music, as any good concept album should. Yet, considering the album's brevity some may feel that something is missing, that they didn't get enough. Nevertheless, consider what Shakespeare once said, 'brevity is the soul of wit.' Recommended.