As a huge fan of 3 Inches of Blood, I first heard of Bison B.C. on their 2008 Metal Blade debut Quiet Earth, which had guest vocals from former 3IB screamer Jamie Hooper. Quiet Earth was anything but quiet with a wall of riffs hitting you over the head from the start. It was certainly an above average album for a relatively unknown group.
Their latest release and third overall – Dark Ages – is a natural progression for the band, incorporating elements of doom and thrash into this fierce concoction of power, anger and gloom. Combining that heavy-as-fuck Mastodon sound with Priestess like melodies creates a sound that you must bang your head to – there is no other option. And I love the fact they have a singer and a screamer. More bands should really follow this mold, as it helps blend the great melodies and the face-blasting riffs together into one cohesive piece.
The album opener, “Stressed Elephant,” is really the key to this record, as it starts the CD with a brutal combo of riffs that any metal band should be striving to create. “Melody, This is For You” is another key track that’s has more of a stoner-doom feel to it, beginning with about three-and-a-half minutes of instrumental goodness, followed by a drum onslaught that transitions into fierce metal riffage.
If there’s one knock on these guys over the years, it’s been that the songs are way too long and they tend to ramble a bit much. With only seven tracks and the shortest coming in at a little over five minutes, that’s an easy way to fill up a few lines in a review. But don’t let it fool you — for the amount of power and riffage these guys bring to the table, if they want to meander into their own world now and then, more power to them. If you don’t like it, in three minutes you’ll be blown out of the water again.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see this one end up in my best of 2010 list.