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Bison B.C.
Dark Ages
December 2010
Released: 2010, Metal Blade
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

There is quite a bit of talk about ‘Hipster Metal’ these days. Apparently it’s metal the ‘cool’ kids can enjoy a band like Bison BC without actually having to admit that they like the Metal and they can justify listening to Metal by saying ‘It’s not really Metal’. Revisionism is a funny thing, people will want to redefine something they like to make it more palatable. Conversely, some die-hard Metalheads will state they don’t like certain bands (like Bison BC) because it’s not ‘True Metal’. I’m a defender of true metal purity as much as the next guy and I tend to shudder at sub-genre cross-fertilization but silly genre definitions and debates aside, Bison BC are a very, very decent band.

The bands third overall release but second full-length, finds them still at home on Metal Blade and delivering a compact 46 minute, seven tracker. Weird song titles and lyrics are still present perhaps contributing to the opinion, that some may hold, that the band is less than metal. The decidedly non-Metal cover art doesn’t help either.

DARK AGES crushes with power. It is a pretty relentless album, slowly steamrolling you with a wall of noise. There are not that many audio dynamics in the songs, just a bludgeoning of the senses. The highs aren’t high, the lows aren’t low, everything is packed into the midrange so the songs don’t have much room to breath, creating a bit of a claustrophobic listening experience. The songs lack a conventional song structure, but that adds to the interest. The songs are pretty dense and intense every instrument competing with each other and the vocals all at the same time. There is not much of the so-called mystical ‘groove’ present on DARK AGES nor is this album likely to inspire whiplash head-banging, but it is still dark, ominous and heavy as hell.

If one was to try to list the sonic ingredients of the band it would be a challenge but I feel they are a big, bubbling cauldron of Doom, Sludge, Stoner, hints of Death, pinches of punk all served up with a big greasy spoon and dumped in your lap, take it or leave it. There are a dozen or so bands that are trying to find a niche with this relatively new and interesting sound and I’d be willing to say that in 10 years Bison BC will be applauded as a pioneer of this bludgeoning, burgeoning style. Until history proves me wrong, I’m just pleased to enjoy this heavy, challenging album. Don’t let pre-conceived notions or genre debates dissuade you from checking out DARK AGES.
Track Listing

1. Stressed Elephant
2. Fear Cave
3. Melody, This is For You
4. Two-Day Booze
5. Die of Devotion
6. Take the Next Exit
7. Wendigo Part 3. (Let Him Burn)


James Gnarwell - Guitar, Vocals
Dan And - Guitar, Vocals
Masa Anzai - Bass
Brad MacKinnon - Drums



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