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Bison B.C. - Dark Ages CD (album) cover


Bison B.C.

Experimental/Post Metal

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Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Dark Ages' - Bison B.C (8/10)

As a band hailing from my hometown of Vancouver that has recently some into a bit of sucess, it's safe to say that I have been watching this band and their rise to fame in anticipation. Having seen them live multiple times before, they are one of the most energetic and heavy bands out there in the metal scene. Fueled by their self proclaimed 'love of the riff,' Bison focuses their talent around creating thick and heavy riffs that wouldn't sound out of place as a soundtrack to a night of heavy drinking and metal excess. This heavy metal archetype aside however, Bison reinforces this primal rage with something many of its contemporaries seem to have overlooked; a sense of intelligence and buried sophistication to their sound.

With the 2010 album 'Dark Ages,' Bison has even further developed their punk and thrash- ridden energy into something more unexpected than their first major recording, 'Quiet Earth.' From the first few seconds of the opener 'Stressed Elephant' alone, there can be heard; an attention to gated guitar effects, a steady build up of sound, and even a beautifully executed horn section before the guitars kick into full gear. Also, with songs topping the eight minute mark, Bison is certainly not a band that's content with releasing mediocre, or half-baked material.

While the shorter songs still keep the ball-breaking heaviness alive, the album meets it's winning streak with the more involved pieces; specifically 'Stressed Elephant,' and the epic closer 'Wendigo Pt. III.' The latter of these songs is a continuation of a song suite that began on 'Quiet Earth,' and those who are familiar with the debut may agree with me that the first two parts of the 'Wendigo' saga were among the most memorable moments of the debut. Not only does the track work well to conclude an album in which the preceding six tracks set the bar high, but its a remarkable way to apparently wrap up the epic.

With song titles like 'Two Day Booze,' you can be damned sure that 'Dark Ages' will not be sharing the CD shelf with alot of the other pretentious, daiquiri-sipping bands that have plagued the heavy metal scene lately. While the album maintains alot of the same tones and general sounds throughout, each song offers something unique. Whether it be a bluesy acoustic introduction, a horn section or even the sort of atmospherics that brought bands like Neurosis up the ranks, Bison will be sure to surprise, and a band that is certain to go on to great things in the coming years.

Report this review (#289806)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I ordered Bison B.C.'s Dark Ages shortly after it was released, hoping for something awesome. I'm usually a fan of large furry animals. When it comes to bands with this type of sound ("stoner metal", "sludge metal") I try to never compare them to Mastodon, because that seems to be what people normally do, and I don't think that is fair at all. Honestly, this album doesn't sound like Mastodon anyway, which is great.

The album started with the music of weeping horns, but the initial sadness doesn't last for long; soon, the anger kicks in. Heavy riffs, heavy vocals, you know the drill. I generally find bands with this sound enjoyable, even on a non-progressive basis. This album, however, does have progressive tendencies. The songs on this album tend to move through different styles of playing (usually staying between styles of sludgy metal and punk) and each track has a motif that occurs and reoccurs with slight variation, tempo changes, and also the occasional acoustic guitar playing. But that's really about as progressive as this music gets. There isn't much in the way of musical technicality on this album. It's fairly straight forward sludge metal with a few extra elements thrown in, but nothing too stand-out. Definitely better than most non- progressive metal bands, though.

So, basically, what you're getting here is straight-forward sludge metal with a few extra elements that are generally uncommon in sludge metal. If you're into the tech metal kind of stuff, then this definitely won't suit you. If you like sludge metal, then you'll probably enjoy this. This album sounds like a slightly more intelligent version of any High On Fire album. If that sounds good, then definitely check this out. I certainly enjoy it.

Report this review (#437880)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permalink

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