Album Reviews

Album review: Dear Mother – Bulletproof

It’s always entertaining to watch where the musician’s steps lead after they part ways with a former band. The excitement level has been rising higher and higher each time the Dutch guitarist Merel Bechtold revealed a new piece of the puzzle about her new alternative metal band Dear Mother. Joining forces with her double former bandmate, drummer Joey Marin de Boer, the duo soon unveiled the identity of their vocalist – the Russian-born David Pear who, with an insane vocal range, every band could be jealous of. And from there the fun began! 

Ever since the first single “12 Years In Exile”, it was clear that Dear Mother is aiming for modern heavy music heights. With their debut album “Bulletproof” and bold DIY approach, these young musicians prove their hunger and determination is aimed at conquering the world. Throughout the twelve songs, the trio shows their high musical and vocal qualities, as well as professionalism and clear vision, which could be envied by many new-formed bands. These guys and girl are, indeed, far from being newbies. 

Following in the footsteps of their influences, ranging from metalcore waters to alternative music waves, with artists such as Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, Of Mice & Men and PVRIS, Dear Mother mix in their own personal musical traits and years of experience; creating a captivating blend of above mentioned styles with a unique DM flavour. 

Starting off strong with a heavy riff off “Vertigo”, the vocalist David immediately unveils different sides of his vocal performance, as he switches from lows to mids, to highs and harsh vocals throughout the album’s opener. The band knows it’s never too early for an amazing guitar solo, and the song is finished with Merel’s excellent guitar work and Joey’s beastly drumming. 

The album continues in a similar crushing manner with “Means To No War” and a catchy, deeply felt chorus. The riffs of this song make you wish you were in a mosphit. The debut single “12 Years In Exile” throws in a bit more alternative electro elements, the mood of the song is shifting from heavy to gentler. The electronic intro to “The Ones Below” gives me an instant PVRIS vibe, but after the first minute, the explosion arrives, and it is clear we’re in far more aggressive waters here. “An Eye For An Eye” starts off casually but don’t let yourself be fooled! This is another banger with killer riffs, remarkable guitar solos and some of the angriest, dirtiest performance from David on the album. Personally, I like to hear him in this position the most. 

Following is the most controversial song of the album – synth infused “A Soul For Hire”, which suits the overall vibe of the album and gives you a space to breathe before the wild ride kicks in again with the single “Symbiose”. If you were waiting for a kickass breakdown, this is where Merel and Joey deliver and create an ultimate guitar/drum symbiose, if only for a brief moment.

“Satellite” is a remarkable song in a slower tempo, after which “Fade In” speeds things up again, Merel and Joey attacking with their bewildering play, David getting his metaphorical hands dirty again in his vocals. His performance throughout the album is loaded with raw and pure emotions, especially on the bittersweet piece “Heart”. 

The distant drumming kicks off “Invincible”; the kids’ choir towards the end adds an extra element, elevating the whole atmosphere and message of the song to greater heights. An excellent way to leave an impression after the song is over. The calm, acoustic finisher “Palace” is truly a remarkable piece, with Merel joining in on vocals in the chorus. Her and David’s voices are melting together, giving you the final release after all that intense guitar/drum attack you’ve just experienced. 

The young trio managed to create their own fresh, modern-metal sound projected into a diverse, yet surprisingly cohesive, collection of songs. It’s not possible to pinpoint whether it’s vocals, guitars or drums that shine the brightest, as David, Merel and Joey work together as a premium union and maintain a high quality of each instrument throughout the whole album. However, it’s David’s excellent vocals (that would, in my opinion, also sound sick in a more heavy or power metal oriented band), that make Dear Mother completely unrivalled in the sea of bands with similar style… and you either love it or hate it. The musicianship and accompanied friendship of Merel and Joey resulted in an inspiring symbiose of their two instruments, and it makes me smile to hear that these two just know each other and their play so well. Even more, it’s obvious that with Dear Mother, Merel has finally found her home – this is the sound and style that suits her the most and I adore this young musician for following her dreams and vision. Well, the future seems bright…

ALBUM REVIEW (13)

Release date: July 16, 2021
Label: Independent
Rating: 8/10

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

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