Since forming in 2011, Japan’s BRIDEAR have left a tantalising trail of albums, EP’s and singles, but one thing missing from their discography was a live album. As part of the tour cycle for their latest long player, Aegis of Athena, the band stopped by London’s Boston Music Room on September 10th 2022 for what proved to be a memorable gig. Thankfully, the tapes were rolling and that evening has been immortalised as the 13-track Aegis Of London…LIVE!, a raucous document that’s sure to take its rightful place amongst luminary live releases such as Priest’s Unleashed In The East and Maiden’s Live After Death.
BRIDEAR certainly know how to make a dramatic entrance, and the elongated introduction to opener ‘Side Of A Bullet’ serves that purpose very well. It’s haunting and ethereal, and gives no hint of the coming storm, while the chants of “BRIDEAR!, BRIDEAR!” only add the feeling of anticipation that electrifies the air. While we are currently living in the golden age of female Japanese metal bands, this Fukuoka quintet have a progressive element that set them apart from their peers and ‘Side Of A Bullet’ is a song of many suites that, when it bursts into life at the three-minute mark, ignites the crowd like kindling. Bookended by two ambient passages it allows each band member to display their wares with drummer Natsumi hitting the skins particularly hard, and it also provides the first taste of bassist Haru’s unearthly growls which fill the venue with the force of a lioness’ roar and make a nice foil to Kimi’s angelic, crystalline vocals.
Fredrik Nordström (At The Gates/Opeth) has done a great job mixing and mastering Aegis Of London…LIVE!, and he’s produced the kind of album that magically transports you the Boston Music Room. With the minimum of overdubs and such studio wizardry, this record provides that authentic live experience and you can almost see the fans going crazy as they chant and punch the air in unison during ‘Daybreak’. Aegis Of London…LIVE! presents the gig as it actually happened (although some of Kimi’s between song banter has been cut and curtailed) and the disc ebbs and flows perfectly, as did the original gig. In new arrival Moe and the established Ayumi, BRIDEAR have a pair of guitarists who can rival the Murray/Smith or Tipton/Downing combos, and their interplay throughout is exceptional, but never to the point of overkill. They know when to groove, and when to thrash and sometimes both at the same time, such as on the sublime ‘Light In The Dark’.
With almost two-thirds of Aegis Of London…LIVE! culled from the band’s previous two albums, this set is weighed more towards their recent output, but Aegis Of Athena and Bloody Bride were such great albums that it is no real hardship, plus this tight focus on two records gives this live release a unified feel. As the history of heavy metal shows, a good live album can turn a cult band into superstars, if history does repeat itself then Aegis Of London…LIVE! will should BRIDEAR into the stratosphere.
- Aegis Of London…LIVE! is released via Setsuzoku Records on 17th February 2023 (from here).
- Official Website
- Side Of A Bullet
- The Moment
- Ray Of Chaos
- Brave New World Revisited
- Helix (Instrumental)
- Light In The Dark
- Bloody Bride