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4 out of 5 skulls
April 29, 2010 | ,

Bison b.c. Dark Ages

Progression is a natural by-product of maturation. Now, whether that progression is a benefit or detractor to a band’s success (and fan base) is an entirely different thing altogether. Bison b.c. are one of the lucky few that are able to progress musically while still retaining the very things that appealed to fans of their stellar release, Quiet Earth.

Building on their primal base of stoner/doom, the British Colombia group deliver their latest effort for Metal Blade Records adding tighter structures, more varied rhythms and epic song writing to each track, all the while never losing site of that sludgy, bruising sound that garnered them such acclaim so early in their career. The guitars carry a sludgy, textured feel while the rhythm section rumble and thunder like a great storm in some prehistoric era. To accompany the vocals (often layered to great effect), there are some slick stoner/rock vibes that permeate the thicker-than-all-get-out riffage. Dark Ages is a massive album, to say the least.

Stressed Elephant
The band get things off to a rousing start with “Stressed Elephant,” an eight minute plus long track that builds slowly over the first minute and a half or so before settling into a groove rich riff as the vocals come in. This is a huge song that has plenty of ebb and flow, varied tempo shifts and nicely layered vocals that add great dynamic to an already well written song. For as long as this song is, it never meanders or stalls, instead keeping your attention well through various change ups and vocal deliveries.

Fear Cave
“Fear Cave” amps up the pace a good bit with a chugging tempo and riffing to get this track moving along nicely. There’s really creative drum work throughout the song along with big swampy and sludge tinged guitars. The vocals are a bit deeper and more guttural at places, as well. For as up-tempo as the opening few beats were this song gets decidedly slower and more dense as the vocals come in. Things pick back up again around 2:30 with raucous drumming and aggressively delivered vocals. Damn there are some good riffs in this song before everything degrades in a swell of reverb and static to end the track. Hell yeah!

Melody, This Is For You
The opening acoustic guitar sounds like something that you’d hear in the distance while mired deep in some southern swamp. Not all that comforting, but still kind of cool. I love the drum and rumbling bass that dominate the early portions of the track before a boat load of guitar noise comes in. Once the guitars start to take on a solid form they have a swampy, southern fried feel to them that’s damned catchy. Man, these guys pack in some serious metal into each song.

Two-Day Booze
Hot damn, the thrashing guitars that get this next one off to a rabid start are freakin’ infectious. The dense vocals are textured nicely and fit the smothering guitars and frenetic drum work perfectly. The switch from brighter hooks to massive riff and back again are a great touch. And the drumming! Holy hell there’s some good drumming throughout this album. The gang vocals offer you a couple of nice chances to get involved with the album, as well.

Die Of Devotion
Another series of swampy riffs keep you well entertained for the first minute or so as the band slows things down a bit with light drumming and distant guitars. The music eventually builds back up with some sick, rock influenced riffs and heavy drums just after the two minute mark (the vocals come in shortly after that). There’s a bit less sludge to this song that gives the band an opportunity to breath a good deal and expand their sound into slightly brighter territories. The song, as a whole, breaks up the overall thicker tone of the album nicely.

Take The Next Exit
The vocals are a bit in the background as this one gets off to a galloping start. There’s a good deal more thrash present in this song than some of the others. It’s not my favorite track on the album, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t chock full with some tasty goodness. The guitars at 2:30 as they build along with the bass is pretty damned sweet.

Wendigo Pt. 3 (Let Him Burn)
We heard parts 1 and 2 on Quiet Earth. This here is the third installment and it closes up the album nicely. Starting off with lightly played acoustic guitar the band erupts out of your speakers around 1:30 with distorted guitars and heavy handed drumming. There is some seriously heavy riffs being delivered with some nicely timed roars and screams. This is one of the darker, beefier songs on the album.

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