Review: “Bullet Proof” by Dear Mother

Seeking to create music with no boundaries David Pear (vocals),¬†Merel Bechtold (guitars) and¬†Joey Marin de Boer (drums) left established bands having toured the World to take the path less travelled and form one of their own. They formed Dear Mother and after a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign their debut record together “Bullet Proof” began to take shape with the band declaring it an Alternative Metal release. However with two of the three based in the Netherlands and one in Russia, how would it come together?

The answer to that million dollar question is that in the modern World the ability to share high quality audio files across the internet is the miracle that every musician has within their reach, no longer needing to send 8 track tapes across vast expanses. The statement about music with no boundaries is certainly an interesting one, certain bands do find themselves trapped in a vortex of wanting to create new material but within the limits that they’ve created for themselves so that is appealing to their existing fanbase, thus enabling them to continue a career and support their families. Perhaps for this trio its more of not being wanting to be genre tagged as Dear Mother push on Progressive Metalcore stylings for the majority of “Bullet Proof“. Bold synths layered into each track to add depth while Bechtold delivers powerful rhythmic chugs that give the songs a real energy and cut through them like a hot knife through butter while Pear is the Jewel in the crown, his vocal diversity something which blows the mind. In “12 Years In Exile” for example he is able to produce multiple voices from effeminate tones in the pre-chorus to some unhinged rantings before building to a bold finale. There are moments where his voice mimics others parts of “The One Below” and “Symbiose” for example having a real Chester Bennington resonance to them and the huge warm synths that accompany his introspective lyrics fuel that fire.

Elsewhere in “An Eye For An Eye” and “Satellite” his uncleans are as throat splitting as someone like Lauren Hart from Once Human as he contrasts the slab after slab of spine juddering abrasive riff battery from Bechtold before breaking into soaring melodies. How mixed up the vocal parts are gives an almost schizophrenic quality to the album with styles switched between lines on a regular basis. That contrast between light and shade is accentuated with a tight solo that back off to intertwined whispers and roars that are more than a little unhinged, before the EDM heavy “A Soul For Hire” introduces something of a Muse vibe, the guitars toned down for a more theatrical Gothic Rock vocal performance. As a whole the album isn’t as eclectic or eccentric as the suggestion of playing without limits might be, partly because Dear Mother do have a distinct style throughout all of these tracks and they have a sound they have created for themselves. What it is is a dark open letter of troubled thoughts that writhe and wriggle in the brain and could see Pear in a straight jacket if it wasn’t for this cathartic release. For all special moments here what is missing is breathing space, a palette cleansing moment mid record to break up the follow and avoid a saturation point that makes the album feel perhaps two tracks too long. Indeed if the beautiful acoustic finale that is “Palace” was at the half way point, it would give the album a bit more impact [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Vertigo
  2. Means To No War
  3. 12 Years In Exile
  4. The Ones Below
  5. An Eye For An Eye
  6. Soul For Hire
  7. Symbiose
  8. Satellite
  9. Fade In
  10. Heart
  11. Invincible
  12. Palace

Bullet Proof” by Dear Mother is out 16th July 2021

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