Album Review #4: Vision Quest – Bear Witness

Genre: Hardcore

Release Date: April 14, 2020 (it is relatively ‘old’ but absuletely gold)

I recently found out about UK HC band Vision Quest when I heard their second EP, Bear Witness. Admittedly, I had slept on them but in today’s post I want to rectify this by reviewing this groovy record. If you like groovy hardcore bands like Turnstile, Trapped under Ice and Slope, you are going love this band.

Bear Witness is a relatively short EP consisting of five songs that span over about seven minutes. Despite its shortness, this is a banger and it makes me want more. Definitely check them out after this review! You are not going to regret it.

Bear Witness to What?

Well, to a sick hardcore record!

To get an impression of the band’s style, check out track two, Psych on their bandcamp page:

The opener is called Release and it is an energetic upbeat song that sucks you up instantly and leads you into this banger of an EP. Immediately after this, my favourite track, Psych follows. It reminds me a little of Trapped Under Ice, which is a good thing. The lead singer’s vocals are energetic and the instrumentals complement them nicely. On this track, Vision Quest show off their grooviness with some nice tempo changes from upbeat verses to instrumental sections with breakdowns that just make you want to move. The mosh call ‘Psych’ introduces the final instrumental section and rounds up the song nicely.

Hot Drop really reminds me of the German funky hardcore band Slope. It is just as groovy as its precursors and the band changes up the pace several times, again inviting the listener to move. This is going to be great to see in a live setting. I really enjoy the two step part around 40 seconds in, where the band slows things down after the upbeat verse and the beat just kicks in all the more heavily. Later, there is some nice side to side section, where the pit is just going to erupt at a live show, especially after quarantine. Hot Drop is definitely going to heat things up live.

The titular track, Bear Witness again shows off the groove of Vision Quest. Fast instrumentals take turns with slower, heavy hitting segments and both contrast each other nicely. These shifts keep you hyped up while listening but at the same time, the music is just chill and comfortable to listen to. This is the perfect build up for the last song of the EP, in which the band just tears things up again in the best way possible.

‘What makes the optimal hardcore track?’ – Upbeat drums, mosh calls, breakdowns? The band might have had this question in mind while writing this song. Step up is another short track but it has everything a hardcore song needs. In the beginning, the instrumentals and vocals kick in and immediately capture your attention. After this fast intro, a side to side beat sets off and at now at the latest you are just going to want to dance. This segment hits like a prick and creates a nice contrast to the intro. Then, the track escalates into a nice breakdown, which was made to mosh to. However, the band changes things up again as a frantic guitar riff shakes things up. It tingles just at the right spots and makes me miss shows even more. To put the cherry on top of the cake, the singer makes a nice mosh call, introducing the final mosh section of this release, which is one of the nicest ones I have heard in a while.

When it comes to the vocals, I don’t have any complaints. They are just really up-front hardcore vocals with decent lyrics but this record speaks to me more through its sound alone other than the lyrical content. That does not mean that they’re generic – I really enjoy them but the record as a whole just spoke to me more than the lyrics. I am certainly happy to have found another great female-fronted band and I am curious to see what comes next from them.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Now, what do I think about this record? The answer is short: I love it. Bear Witness feels like a full release, despite being short and it is just a fun EP. I give this 9/10 points because it really captured me from start to finish, which most of the recent hardcore bands are not capable of to be honest. Vision Quest play some solid, groovy hardcore, really similar to the German band Slope, which you should check out in case you haven’t done so already.

This record is definitely for you if you like music that you can dance and relax to and you should NOT sleep on this release like I did initially. It is short but that makes it all the more enjoyable and it really makes me crave some more music by this band. Additionally, you name the price if you download it on bandcamp, so there is nothing you can do wrong in this case, unless this genre is not your cup of tea but in that case, you probably would not be reading this.

For the upcoming weeks, I have a couple more reviews planned, so stay tuned for that. Just the other day, I discovered yet another band that I really enjoyed, so you can look forward to an additional review, some time this or next week. Their record was released a couple of months ago, too but I am going to review it anyway because I think it is just on point. You can look forward to that.

As always, thanks for reading and until next time.


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Published by sovlpvnk

On this blog, I talk about the alternative music scene and its ethics as well as LGBTQIAP+ -related topics. I mostly write about asexuality, political issues and their representation in media. Expect content in English and German once per month. Book and film reviews on my goodreads and letterboxd accounts: sovlpvnkblog and sovlpvnk.

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