Hellbear is like the gumbo of the metal world. To say they're thrash would be a lie, and to say they're black metal would be a lie to. They're a bit of both, but with equal doses of speed metal and power metal thrown in for good measure. In other words, you toss all your metal in a pot with some veggies and potatoes and, baby, you got a brutal stew going. At least that's the impression I get on this EP.
It only has 5 tracks, but doesn't need more than that to leave a lasting impression. "Shadowlands", with its relentless drum beat and trudging guitar riffs, comes across as slightly more hardcore than metal, but, again, these guys are a grab bag of metal genres, so things are going to sound different every song. "No Race, No Rome" retains a black metal undercurrent throughout the song, but still stays quick enough to not succumb to the morbid feelings you get from listening to that genre (Not that I don't mind a morbid feeling or two, but I like a metal song that doesn't make me feel like I'm in some gothic cathedral somewhere). This feels a bit hardcore as well, but I feel it may be because of the singing style more so than the music.
"In Sand We Sit" initially had me singing "The Ace Of Spades", but it's just because of the initial guitar riff and not because these guys are big Motorhead fans (Maybe they are, who knows, I try not to judge). It's thrashy and a bit death metaly, and comes across as the most complete track on the EP despite its maybe-unintentional association with speed metal legends. "Iron Made In China" is loud and slightly chaotic, but suffers from a head scratching beat that sometimes takes a bizarre turn for the worse. It's not a bad song by any means, but it doesn't feel like the rest of the song on the EP, substituting the fast-paced fun for instrumental masturbation.
The one hiccup aside, Hellbear really delivers on their EP here. Even the album art delivers, which is what made me listen to them in the first place. I hope they continue to blend the styles together as seamlessly as they do here, because if they do, they're one hell of band to keep an eye on. - Shane