Bridear’s Aegis of London… Live! offers a taste of the live experience

There is nothing in the world quite like live music, especially when the band in question has the boundless energy and talent of Japanese metal group, Bridear. The band has been relentless as of late, with a live album capping off a European tour and the incredible Aegis of Athena album in 2022. I was fortunate enough to have an early listen to Aegis of London… Live! and chat with the band about the tour, why a live album, and what is coming next.

Bridear’s Aegis of London… Live! captures the band’s joy and polish

I am, admittedly, a big fan of Bridear. They’ve been steadily rising through the ranks of my favourite Japanese metal bands since Aegis of Athena was released back in May 2022 and I have very fond memories of seeing them live during the ensuing Decide to Survive Tour to promote it. While I couldn’t make it to the show where Aegis of London was recorded, it did take me back to watching them on stage that night.

What’s obvious throughout the 13 tracks of this live album is the love that Bridear have for their music. Studio sessions allow artists to go back and forth, tweaking and changing songs to find the perfect balance between raw and polish, but live albums don’t offer that luxury. Even with legendary metal producer Fredrik Nordström doing the mixing for Aegis of London… Live! you expect to hear the small imperfections that come in a live show. Live albums thrive on the energy the band provides and, more importantly, the connection to the crowd.

Bridear group photo
Photo by KARAOME

According to lead singer Kimi, “It’s a document of the power between a band and the audience. We wanted to capture that feeling of being in the room with us.”

The setlist here is largely as I remember it from the Huddersfield gig. From the dramatic opening of Side of a Bullet through to the almost classic rock feel of Ray of Chaos and my personal favourite Bridear track Determination, the music is clear, crisp, and easy to hear even with the London crowd chanting throughout. You can feel the excitement when guitarists Moe and Ayumi take centre stage and the pounding of the Natsumi’s drums guides the band through the songs. Kimi does a great job of whipping the crowd up, painting the picture of fists raised in the air.

It isn’t quite the same as being in the room, but it is damn close. The energy between the audience and the band is electric and palpable on each track. There is joy in the voices of the band as they talk to the crowd, which translated to some phenomenal performances from each member. Ayumi noted that “the show in London was the most exciting one in this tour. We could capture that hot vibe and atmosphere in this live album. Thanks to the fans’ reaction, I could play my best performance that night. I fed off them so much.”

There is a sense of desperation in the way the band is performing on this record. You can hear Kimi pushing her vocals further than usual and bassist Haru’s impossibly feral death growl shining through in the tracks. For Ayumi, it was a chance to show how far both she and the band have come.

“I wanted to put everything I had into the show that night,” she said when asked about the album. “I’ve grown so much as a musician since I joined the band [in 2019] and the band has grown so much over the years. This is an album that displays our growth, I think.”

That desire to grow is what makes Bridear one of the most exciting bands out there. More than a decade into their career, they show no signs of slowing down. In less than 12 months, they released a studio album, toured Japan and Europe, and put out this live album, yet they seemed eager to stay on the road and, more importantly, keep making new music. Both Kimi and Ayumi said that they were already writing new material.

When asked about the prospect of taking a bit of time off, Haru replied, “We have no time to take a vacation. I wanna keep being active.”

I genuinely hope they can maintain this pace because that drive to create and connect with fans comes through in every track on Aegis of London… Live! If you were lucky enough to see Bridear perform last year on the Decide to Survive Tour, it will certainly whet your appetite for the new music that could be on the horizon from the band. If you haven’t seen them live, it gives a taste of the experience. Either way, it is well worth giving a listen for any metal fan out there.

Aegis of London… Live! is currently available to stream on Spotify or you can pick up a physical copy from Orion Records.

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