October In Metal, Part III: Bison B.C. and Antropomorphia
Oooooh Weeeeeee! Oooohhhhh fucking Weeeeee!
I’ve been a Bison B.C. fan since their early days simply loving their downtuned sludge and bass heavy grooves, heard not only on their indie release back in 2007 but on both their Metal Blade records up until this point (’08s Quiet Earth and 2010′s Dark Ages). All three records have been very good even if they weren’t the most groundbreaking recordings in the world. In fact, they were often compared to Mastodon, High on Fire and bands of that ilk. Lovelessness however, finds the band fully establishing their own sound.
The album begins with the sludge filled intro to “An Old Friend” before the tune launches into some fierce riffs and back down into the muck again. After that point though, something totally unexpected happens. These fuckers thrash the hell out. “Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness” is ferocious, in a smash-bodies-into-a-wall type way. Listening to “Last and First Things” you can just see the band flying around the stage without a care to what it mangles along the way.
It’s the near 11 minutes of “Blood Music” which ends up being a monstrous wall of sound, bowel shaking, earth shattering, loud-as-fuck sound. A few times throughout the tune they add some atmospheric fuzz in to create one of the most unique tracks they’ve released.
I came into this expecting to shut my eyes and sway back and forth to the sludge and instead I had to grit my teeth and snarl at onlookers for 45 minutes. Bison B.C. have taken their music to a new level with Lovelessness and if you didn’t take them seriously before, it’s time to watch out for these guys.
For those that think metal is made up of a bunch of meatheads, think again. I know I’m not Einstein by any means but I’m no dummy either. But jeez, there’s a lot of shit in metal that I just don’t understand. Whether these bands have to look up the terms and names they use or they are at the tip of their tongues is unknown but I had no idea what Antropomorphia meant (it’s a non-human and/or non-living thing having human characteristics). I had however heard of the group before this point thanks to the killer compilation of early material called Necromantic Love Songs, via the Crypt.
The band formed in 1989 released a few demos and an EP in ’93, an LP called Pure in 1998 and then disbanded. But the renewed interest in 2011 by the Crypt got them back into the studio to record a new record. I’ve been called a poser before because I collect cool looking vinyl whether it be artwork or the color of the disc and for that purpose only, worry less about the music (never mind the thousands of discs I’ve listened to) but without that I would have never heard of these guys. So laugh all you want at the dude that spends 30 bucks on the die hard vinyl edition of some obscure group but at least I’m supporting the industry and discovering new bands that way. Rant. Done.
Anyway, their first album for Metal Blade marks a remarkably different sound for the group. They are still death metal like they always were. But without the major backing their production was kind of flat and the tunes kind of one dimensional. They were certainly brutal enough back in ’93 and they still are, so that hasn’t changed. But with a bigger label comes a better sound. The production values are great showing off the individual skills of the band that got buried in the mix before. Start to finish the album is riff heavy and filled with unholy growls. But there’s also a lot of catchy melodic riffs throughout as well. And the drumming really stands out on this record, recorded well and not just generic blast beats.
“Psuchagogia” (another word that I have no clue what it means – and fuck, it might be made up since there’s no definition anywhere that I can find) is the lead track and the best one on the record. Led by a great baseline and a thunderous riff, it’s punctuated by a kind of catchy chorus and some vicious soloing. There’s even a creepy slow-and-low breakdown in the middle to add some texture.
Overall, Evangelivm Nekromantia is one of the best death metal releases of the year and a far cry from the previous output of the band. Maybe this is the indication of a promising resurrection of their career.