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VR636 TheBunnyTheBearIt only happens a couple of times a year (if that), but I absolutely love it when an album like this comes along. You see, if you don’t count albums by musically schizophrenic artists such as MR. BUNGLE, DOG FASHION DISCO, TUB RING, IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, DR. ACULA, or MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE among the cherished titles within your collection of recorded audio, there’s a good chance that you’ll absolutely despise IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, the Victory Records debut from Buffalo, NY’s THE BUNNY THE BEAR.

Me? I think it’s fantastic.

A sextet fronted by the mask-wearing frontmen from which the band takes it’s name, THE BUNNY looks suspiciously like one of the backup members of KORN during the SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE tour, while the bear… does a fine job of emoting through his eyes. On one side you have ‘Bugs working the death metal growl and hardcore screams, while on the other you have Teddy Ruxpin breaking out the melodies. Paired up, the duo maintains a constant layer of theatrics throughout the 41-minute set. Backing the masked ones are a tight group of guitar/bass/drum operators that form a symbiotic relationship with the layered electronic elements that are presumably tracked when performing live.

Listen closely and at 1:17 in Ocean Floor (1:21 in the video below) you’ll hear a groove that kicks in recalling FEAR FACTORY on the FEAR IS THE MINDKILLER EP.

With elements of hardcore, metal, electronica, and pure rock coming together at once, a complete clusterfuck would be easy to imagine. Where THE BUNNY THE BEAR wins is in their ability to allow breathing room for each member of the band and the instrumentation brought forth by each. It’s also interesting to take note of the fact that the album tends to become more melodic in it’s back half prior to an explosive conclusion with Path. It’s kinda New Wave-y, a little Video Game-y, and I thought I was inside THE NEVERENDING STORY for a couple of minutes, but IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY… is an entertaining record.

The Bottom Line: A lot of people will immediately discount the band upon learning that there’s masks involved, and those people will find themselves missing out. THE BUNNY THE BEAR have delivered an impressive collection of musical schizophrenia that’s bound to polarize audiences.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

BONUS: Wanna hear THE BUNNY (Matt Tybor), THE BEAR (Chris Hutka), and guitarist Amber Kogut in a non-chaotic straight-up rock band? Check out A LIAR WROTE THIS SYMPHONY.

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