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Bring To Bear – Light And Shadow

Bring To Bear
Light And Shadow
by Thomas Kumke at 06 March 2022, 8:34 PM

BRING TO BEAR hailing from London, UK were formed in 2020 by Hristo Nikolov and Ian Tarboton. They are a symphonic Folk Metal band. Their debut EP “Light And Shadow” was recorded at the Audiohouse Studio in London. For the EP recordings, Hristo Nikolov played also the bass beside the guitars. The EP is an independent release, and it has a length of about 12 minutes.

BRING TO BEAR is one of the many bands that were formed during the pandemic. There have been plenty of new releases since the start of the pandemic, probably more than ever before, despite the fact that bands were not able to play live shows and make proper business out of their music. It seems that even such difficult times do not stop creativity and art. A new creative force from UK has seen the light in 2020, and “Light And Shadow” is their very first offering.

Going through the line-up, I have been a bit surprised to see no traditional folk instruments, apart from the accordion, but the opening track “The Shadow Ruse” contains a lot of classical Folk elements in terms of rhythm and melodies. The track starts with heavy guitar riffing at mid-tempo, which transitions quickly into a fast-paced track. The clean female vocals are mostly around the medium end of the vocal range with little variations throughout. Izabela Smyt has vocal support with the deep growling vocals of Ian Tarboton, which sets a counterpoint to the clean vocals. The accordion remains in the background, a bit too much for my taste. The song is mainly driven by the guitars, the drumming, which includes a lot of double-bass, and the clean vocals. The mid-tempo break takes off a bit of the dynamics unfortunately. “The Shadow Ruse” is the official lyric video release and the YouTube link is given below.

The cover version of “No One Knows” by QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE has a very different sound and arrangement compared to the original. This is not only down to the vocals, but in particular by the powerful guitar riffing which has plenty of ALESTORM vibes. The vocals are split effectively into the clean and the growling part. Altogether a very smart arrangement of the QOTSA classics.

The EP closes with “From The Abyss” and I have the feeling that the Folk Metal parts are just about to flourish. The Folk melodies and instruments are more dominant and that puts the vocals of Izabela Smyt into a new light. The more traditional Folk Metal songs fit very well to her voice and her style. The song has complex textures with a lot of changes in rhythm and melodies. The opening verse part sounds NIGHTWISH inspired, while the middle part includes a good interplay of the lead guitar and the accordion. The final part “From The Abyss” is heavier, less playful, and more direct.

Light And Shadow” is a promising debut EP. Although there are only two own songs, there is an indication what to expect from this new band. BRING TO BEAR will still need to find their feet in terms of their sound and direction, but there is a start where the band can build upon. The songwriting still needs a bit of maturity, but this will develop over time. The EP is well produced. If BRING TO BEAR are able to focus their songs around their vocalists and in particular around the strengths of Izabela Smyt, they could develop into a well-respected Folk Metal band. “Light And Shadow” gives hope for a good full-length album and fans of Folk Metal should keep an eye on BRING TO BEAR.

Songwriting:  7
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. The Shadow Ruse
2. No One Knows (QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE cover)
3. From The Abyss
Izabela Smyt – Vocals
Nikiforos Rotas – Guitars
Hristo Nikolov – Guitars
Ian Tarboton – Accordion, Keyboards, Vocals
Simon Jones – Drums
Richard Knight – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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