Released: 2008, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Following the lead of Strapping Young Lad, Zimmers Hole, Priestess and 3 Inches of Blood, the latest band to come storming out of Vancouver is Bison B.C. with their full-length debut, QUIET EARTH. The band’s name describes their sound perfectly as the music is a big, lumbering colossus not unlike that of Baroness, Mastodon, Yob and High On Fire. The rumbling guitars of James Farwell and Dan And take on a cotton-mouthed stoner vibe but the wall of sound generated on QUIET EARTH is anything but laid back or “quiet.” One would think Bison B.C.’s music is tailor-made for a label like Relapse but, strangely, the band has signed with Metal Blade Records who might have a trickier time marketing this group of hairy Canadian outcasts than the usual metalcore and death metal that populates their roster. But we locals have had our fingers on the pulse of Bison B.C. (who up until this record were known simply as Bison) for awhile now and I can assure you that QUIET EARTH is a force to be reckoned with.
The thunder comes from above right away as “Primal Emptiness of Outer Space” storms in like a rumbling behemoth. And and Farwell’s megaton riffs smolder with a rock sensibility that is simultaneously melodic and lurching. On “Dark Towers” and “These Are My Dress Clothes,” Farwell’s yelling offers a punkish feel to the songs but And’s growls give them a gruff edginess, too. 3 Inches of Blood’s Jamie Hooper provides some guest vocals on the punishing “Slow Hand of Death” and the extended solo and militaristic drumming that rounds the track out is a fine slice of metal jamming. Neurosis/Mastodon parallels will surely be drawn to “Wendigo Pt. 1 (Quest For Fire)” and “Wendigo Pt.2 (Cursed To Roam),” an epic pair of tempo-shifting, mythically-oriented tracks filled with thick, distorted guitars and howling vocals. Even the instrumental, “Medication,” marches along on a chugging groove with some tasty soloing that comes from out of nowhere.
Simply put, QUIET EARTH rips. Bison B.C. has a lot going for them as their shows continuously draw well locally and buzz is high for this record. They also have potential for cross-genre appeal as the rockers, metalheads and hipsters all seem to get down with the band’s music equally and with an indie powerhouse like Metal Blade behind them, Bison B.C. could be the next big thing in 2008.
KILLER KUTS: “Primal Emptiness of Outer Space,” “Dark Towers,” “Slow Hand of Death,” “Wendigo Pt. 1 (Quest For Fire),” “Wendigo Pt.2 (Cursed To Roam),” “Medication”