Friday, December 17, 2010

Bison b.c. - Dark Ages

Bison b.c.
Dark Ages
Metal Blade

Bison b.c. (the “b.c.” refers to the band’s home state of British Columbia, not the time before Jesus) is one of the latest stormtroopers in a new wave of North American heavy metal that have taken the lessons of Mastodon – be omnivorous in your musical appetites but don’t forget to rock, bitch – to heart. The Vancouver quartet’s second LP Dark Ages boasts a full coterie of memorably massive riffs, enough to rival their spiritual mentors’ already impressive catalog. Bison leaves out most of the proggy bits, but its ability to seamlessly transition from sludgy to soaring, atmospheric to annihilating, thuggish to thrashy, pensive to powerhouse on Die of Devotion, Stressed Elephant (which adds a melancholy trumpet to its intro) and Wendigo Pt. 3 (Let Him Burn) makes the music both impressive and entertaining. The sore-throat shouting gets a bit wearying after a while, but it’s also hard to imagine the songs without it. Besides, it’s the instrumental work that’s the point here, and in that sense Bison b.c. is so deadly you should call the coroner before the sound starts to spin.

- Michael Toland
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