Monday, 22 October 2012

Bison B.C. - Lovelessness (album review)

Local Dirtbags Let Rip Steaming Pile of Awesome

Bison BC is one of a small handful of local Vancouver bands, along with The Ancients, Black Wizard, Funeral Circle and to a lesser extent The British Columbians, that I would consider hometown heroes.  Even if they are self-described dirtbags.  Therefore, it is my duty to review their third full-length, officially released only a matter of hours ago, while it`s still warm on the table.

So, here`s a track by track rundown.

Album opener, "An Old Friend" lays everything out on the table.  Shredding guitars, thrashing drums, a heavy atmosphere pervades from the almost Maiden-like opening riff to the caveman drumming reminiscent of Des Kensel.

The first bit of the track "Anxiety Puke/ Lovelessness" (which I assume is the Anxiety Puke part) reminds me of something from the 90s.  The unceremoniously consummated love child between Offspring and 'Deliverance' era Corrosion of Conformity, which abruptly gears down only to slowly build back from the ground up.  The long instrumental build up gives plenty of room for the guitars to breathe and feel their way around the melody.  A study in tension.  This is the song the label has chosen to promote as the album's single, and at 9 minutes seems an odd choice, at least on the surface.  But it's the right choice, showcasing not only what this album is all about but providing some of the band`s best moments since "Stressed Elephant" from 2010`s `Dark Ages`.

"Last and First Things" is another slow burner taking time to build the song up in layers upon layers with many false starts, each time getting it more and more right until finally the song opens up with vocals about four minutes in, settling in to the perfect groove.  Of course, the experimentation doesn`t end there as the band continues to explore different facets of the groove they established early on.  It is almost classical in structure, somewhat reminiscent of a fugue.

"Blood Music" is perhaps the most doom-y of the songs here, stoner/doom by way of High on Fire circa `Snakes for the Divine` or Thrash-y doom by way of Behold! the Monolith, but unmistakably Bison B.C.

"Clozapine Dream" is a fairly straightforward thrash/punk blast which tumbles back in on itself into a slower stoner/doom finish.  All in all, the shortest track on the album and perhaps the quickest and easiest way to find out what this band is all about.

"Finally Asleep" is a probably the slowest most down tempo song on the album and I can see why they might have chosen to close the album with it.  The first five tracks all have a consistent feel and a coherent singular vision, this track might have disrupted the flow so they appear to have stuck to the old adage that you can get away with a longer or slower song at the end of your album.  I forgive them.  It`s another great song and somehow more reminiscent of their previous album than anything else on this one.

Overall, this feels like a band really finding its niche and growing into its sound.

I like `Dark Ages` but it wasn`t the kind of thing that I find revisiting over and over again.  Lovelessness is a much more accomplished album, in terms of song craft, it is the kind of thing I will be playing over and over again over the next couple months.

Reminds me of: Behold! The Monolith, Black Pyramid, High on Fire, Red Fang

My Rating: 4.5/5

From: Vancouver, B.C.

Genre: Stoner Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom, Sludge



Tracklist:
1). An Old Friend (6:21)
2). Anxiety Puke / Lovelessness (9:03)
3). Last and First Things (8:11)
4). Blood Music (10:46)
5). Clozapine Dream (3:15)
6). Finally Asleep (6:51)
Total Run Time: 44:24

Release Date: October 22, 2012

More Info

Suggested Listening Activity for fellow non-stoners: Swimming in a pool of razor blades then sliding down Filth Mountain.

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