Released: 2001, Sanctuary Records
I know some of you are scratching your heads saying “What is Metal-Rules.com doing covering Biohazard?” Well don’t sweat it, skip to the next review, don’t have a brain hemorrhage over it!! Ok…those that are left reading this review are either interested or like Biohazard or have a morbid sense of curiousity. I know that some people will write me and ask why I covered this band/CD or why I actually like Biohazard. If you’ve paid ANY attention to my reviews you know I despise rap elements in metal and that I don’t like hardcore music. So why do I like Biohazard? Yes they have the rap elements and they also have an even bigger hardcore sound. But they also have a metal influence. I guess it’s the metal influence that speaks louder here because if not I don’t think I’d like much of this band’s material. There are WAY too many bands doing the rap/hardcore thing these days but back when I first heard this band there wasn’t. There was no “mallcore, no “nu-metal”….Biohazard were just a band that sounded heavy and incorporated some outside elements. My first taste of this band was in 1992 when they released their (in my opinion) best album URBAN DISCIPLINE. At that time in the world of metal there was not as many new bands coming out, not as much to choose from as we have now! It was a time when many of my favorite bands had “evolved” into something that I found to be too rock and too light sounding. I was searching for something different. Death metal was filling the void for me in many aspects but I still checked out the new bands of the day and Biohazard caught my ear and my respect at that time. Their 1994 follow up STATE OF THE WORLD ADDRESS was another great album although not quite as catchy. In 1996 I bought the next album, MATA LEAO and guess what? I only liked 2-3 of the songs on it!! Since 1996 Biohazard has only released one studio album called NEW WORLD DISORDER (1999). As a result of my letdown with MATA LEAO I didn’t even pick up that studio album and had left Biohazard as a band who had two great albums - URBAN DISCIPLINE and STATE OF THE WORLD ADDRESS (yes they have a self-titled album from 1990 which is also so-so).
Fast forward to 2001. We are surrounded by shitty hardcore bands and “metal” bands trying to incorporate (c)rap into their music. As a result many people who were not into metal in the early 90’s lump Biohazard in with the Limp Dickshits of the day. Unfortunately Biohazard is not seen as innovative or original…yet they were. I probably would not of even bought this Biohazard CD because I had lost track of the band but a copy arrived in the mail for me to cover so I figured I would give it a fair listen. I was hoping for URBAN DISCIPLINE part 2. I did not get it at all. The PR for this CD is calling it a “return” to their roots. Not quite, and not enough for me! The CD played through on the first listen and only 2-3 of the songs caught my ear. The album begins with “Sellout” which is mired with a simple repetitive riff. The vocals of Billy and Evan come though on this one to make it listenable - no rapping just the angry yelling which are the vocal styles that I prefer from this band. All in all an OK song but nothing as memorable as say “Shades of Grey.” Up next is the title track “Uncivilization” which beings with daa daa….daa daa….over and over for close on a minute backed by some news broadcast….fucking boring! Finally the song comes in and it’s not too bad, a tad noisy and very Slayer-ish in spots! “Wide Awake” has the rapped vocals mixed with the yelling…I really don’t like this at all yo…in your face yo. The chorus is the best part where the melodic singing takes over. “Get Away” is one of the better songs on here, very angry and pissed off sounding…Biohazard at it’s best. On the flip side is “Last Man Standing” which is Biohazard at it’s worst with WAY too much rapping. Somewhere within these songs here lies an excellent band that could be THE perfect combination of metal and hardcore like they were in the past…the unfortunate inclusion of the rap vocal elements drags this down way too much for me. The album’s closing track, “Cross The Line”, features some great guest vocals from Type O Negative’s Peter Steele. There are quite a few guest appearances on this album from members of Sepultura and Pantera along with some other people from non-metal bands that I don’t know much about.
As usual Biohazard have something to say with their lyrics. Far from a shallow band they sing about things like oppression, control, society’s ills, etc. My favorite quote comes from the song “Plastic” – “I'll bet they write us off as a bunch of illiterates. With nothing to say, and think that we're ignorant. Afraid of our might, so they label us belligerent. How can they be so motherfuckin arrogant?” Isn’t that the way many people in society view us metalheads in general? The album cover for UNCIVILIZATION is as usual thought provoking and tongue in cheek at the same time. The young boys in the picture make me think of the Hitler Youth party ( more info on what that was about here: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/index.html
). Only difference here is the kids are flying high the Biohazard symbol. The meaning I get from this is echoed in many of the lyrics in the album such as “H.F.F.K.” – “We wonder why our children kill hate and lie, with no responsibility” Perhaps it is because they are being brainwashed by the shit on TV? Perhaps it’s because it seems as if no one cares…etc.
If you are a die-hard Biohazard fan, then you will no doubt lap this one up. If you are looking for URBAN DISCIPLINE part two, you will have to look elsewhere or accept this as the closest you can get. I know this review was extra long but I guess I had more to say about this band then I thought. More information on this Brooklyn, NY band can be found on their official website at: http://www.biohazard.com