The thing I like about Bison BC‘s newest album Quiet Earth is that it’s short and to the fucking point. Bands release bloated “epics” like clockwork but with Quiet Earth, Bison has made a brazen, to-the-point thrash/stoner metal album.
Bison appeared on my radar when they received major metal points and boneristic rave from this years CMJ. A quick trip to their MySpace reveals little personal information, other than “Featuring members of FUCK, DOUCHEBAG TIME, COLONEL ASSFACE and DOCTOR CHOCOLATE.”
Fans of Mastodon and The Sword will find kindred-spirits in Bison’s music. Many songs on Quiet Earth have the similar metal progressions and “fuck-all” trash attitude that you’d hear on an album like Mastadon’s Leviathan. At times it is genre borrowing and a-typical, but better than some of the piss that gets released under the “metal” mantle. Do I think they have what it takes to carry the torch into the next decade? Probably more-so than most of the shit that people listen too.
Genres aside, Bison brings their powerful note-sliding heaviness 100 percent. Quiet Earth is made up of eight tracks, including an instrumental, “Medication”. Most metal bands can barely pull this feat off, but the band pleasantly surprises. The album’s standout second track “Dark Towers” beings with a mind-fuck of a dirty intro that instantly draws you in. Lead singer James Farwell’s pained, throaty growls gives “Dark Towers” a voice to be reckoned with; the song has a pure, uncompromising power, which is beautiful in its own dark way.
“Slow Hand Of Death” is the next best thing on the album. Its opening riff and subsequent buildup bring the song to a mighty peak once it kicks in. Essentially, it’s a metal-riff ballad, but when a band adds a string-section in their metal opus, it turns my heart into warm butter.
In fact, Quiet Earth has many sections that include strings piled atop the heavy riffs, like a fat women looking for love. While most bands use this as a means to compensate for lack of depth, Bison makes it work as part of the whole.
Just to set the record straight: This is not a clean-sounding, safe album. The production has an extremely raw, chewed-to-the-bone atmosphere. We’ve heard this before with similar bands, and it’s one of my favorite sounds.
With Quiet Earth being a fairly new album, time will tell what Bison BC can produce. They bring an amazingly pissed-off sense of depravity to metal, and can keep it coming as far as I’m considered.
Metal Blade Records [CD, 2008]
1. “Primal Emptiness Of Outer Space”
2. “Dark Towers”
3. “Slow Hand Of Death” featuring guest vocals by Jamie Hooper from 3 Inches of Blood
4. “Wendigo Pt. 1 (Quest For Fire)”
5. “These Are My Dress Clothes”
6. “Wendigo Pt. 2 (Cursed To Roam)”
7. “Medication” – Instrumental
8. “Quiet Earth”