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Music Reviews


Aegis of Athena

BRIDEAR
Released: 05.13.22
Review by shawnkupfer | May 24, 2022 at 1:00 PM
B+

“Your favorite place is about to fall from the sky
Just like the fireflies in the dark”

A year ago, I reviewed BRIDEAR’s Bloody Bride and I said that record was a lot of fun. And it was. 

Aegis of Athena, the album that came out almost exactly a year later, is a different animal and you can feel it from the first song. 

BRIDEAR has kept its pop sensibility and power-metal roots but, from the get-go, this record has a more epic, cinematic feel. In fact, there’s an alternate universe out there where this is the soundtrack to a huge blockbuster (and I kinda want to visit that universe)

The X-Japan sound is still there but if you listen you’ll hear some honest-to-goodness Coffins-esque death growls (and you don’t even have to listen too hard, they’re right there in “Side of a Bullet”, the almost 10-minute opening track)

That’s not to say that the record is super-serious or joyless. BRIDEAR knows how to write a hell of an upbeat pop song. The album is sprinkled with them, cleverly pulling you back up after a more serious number. Aegis of Athena never really slows down but it gives you a break from the heavier parts with some songs (like “Greed”) that feel bright, punchy, and poppy regardless of subject matter. 

Standout tracks on this record, for me, are “With Me” and “Lodestar”. “With Me” is an 80s-flavored, end-credits-of-an-action-movie banger that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It has the perfect ballad breakdown and guitar solo to bring the track to a close. 

“Lodestar” is fast-paced—a drum and down-tuned guitar-driven power metal jam that shows the band can tackle pretty much any style they choose and make it sound good. I’d say it’s my favorite song on the record, but that would be unfair to “Brave New World Revisited”, which is another of those longer, epic songs like the one that opens the record. BRIDEAR does these kinds of songs particularly well, making them just long enough that you feel the proggy nature of them but not so long that you’re reaching for the skip button.

The whole album is fast-paced and frenetic without feeling out of sorts. If you listen to it front to back, you’ll probably notice the care that was put into the song order. The heavier songs and the poppier songs still flow effortlessly together.  

And here’s the good news: just like the last record, this one is still a lot of fun. 

Stream it, Buy it, Skip it?: This is another one you’re going to want to buy. I liked it better on my second listen than on my first, and that’s saying something because I really liked it on that first listen.

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