Reviews for November 1st, 2012

Bison B.C. – Lovelessness

Bison B.C. from Vancouver, British Columbia (the B.C. in the band’s name) have returned with their third album of stoner sludge metal, “Lovelessness.”

I have at some point listened, in passing at least, to the bands first two albums, and while I may have heard a spark of something that caught my interest I never really got into these guys. This will be the first time giving them my full attention for the duration of an album.

I don’t even have to get through the first song to decide that I love the heavy, plodding and thundering guitars. I could be mesmerized by these alone. The vocals combined with this music make me think of Ministry’s “Filth Pig” if it were more metal than industrial.

While in no way similar to Zodiac (one of yesterday’s reviews), I do notice “Lovelessness” is another instance where the music has a very crusty and aged feel, while not succumbing to the pitfall of terrible production. Many of my production complaints would disappear if more bands would learn you can sound retro and dirty without also sounding like shit. I rain mighty hails upon Bison B.C. for knowing the difference.

I believe my official mantra needs to be “I have to go back and listen to the earlier material now/again” because I find myself saying it so often. Since I am not well versed in the first two Bison B.C. albums I cannot say whether “Lovelessness” is a huge step forward or whether I just did not pay close enough attention the first time around. Either way, I can say with certainty that this particular album has impressed the hell out of me.

Today marks the first day of November and I look nervously at the calendar as I realize it is becoming time to firm up my (ever-growing) year-end list of favorite albums of 2012. No small list shall this be. I feel fairly certain that “Lovelessness” will make that list.

Check out the track “Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness” and see if you don’t agree.

Abiotic – Symbiosis

“Symbiosis” is the first album from Floridian technical brutal death metal band Abiotic. Hey, look, a Florida death metal band. I have not really noticed any new bands from the area lately.

Wow, this album is crazy. The intensity is off the chart. There is almost enough different things going on here to make my head explode. There are super fast blast beats and tight, technical guitars. Everything starts and stops so much that at times it feels like the song is lurching. Then they drop into a Cryptopsy-esque little jazzy bit before rocketing back into crushing brutality. The vocals hang out in both ends of the spectrum with little or no time in the middle. They start off with that extremely low cement mixer gravelly style which I hate so much because you can never discern that they are even using real words. Then suddenly the vocals head into an extremely high-pitched scream. Somewhere Dani Filth is rubbing his ears and going “Damn, mate, that shit is piercing me bloody ear drums!” This album is not for the casual metal listener.

Despite how harrowing I make it sound I have a hard time knocking this album. The technical skill involved in this album is clear; so much so that I could accuse them of wanking like a progressive metal band. The saving grace is that the production is so clean, tight and punchy that this all sounds good.

I tend to prefer music that doesn’t make me work so hard, but I bet this would be great to listen to when I am at the gym. I think if listeners are inclined toward such a chaotic style and willing to put in the effort required, then they will feel gratified by “Symbiosis.” Others will scratch their head and go “WTF?”

Here is “To Burgeon and Languish.”

Silent Leges Inter Arma – S/T

Silent Leges Inter Arma is a German black metal band and this is their self-titled first album.

The lead off track, “We Are” does not jump right up and impress me. First of all the guitars and drums are mixed louder than the vocals. I try not to be too much of a music snob, but come on, vocals, when present, are the most important element of a song. They serve no other purpose than to be heard; they are not a complementing element. So put them out front where they belong please. The whole mix sounds slightly muddy and distant, which is another thing that drives me crazy.

I can get behind some of the artistic approach they take on some of these songs. I like how they attack black metal slightly differently than a lot of bands I hear. So I will give them credit for that. I hear potential, but until they work on the production they will not get my vote.

Witch Cross – Fit for Fight

Witch Cross is a traditional metal band from Denmark and “Fit for Fight” appears to be a re-issue of their one album, which was originally released in 1984. Wow, that makes these songs roughly 28 years old. The Tigers actually won the World Series (instead of getting swept) the year these songs were recorded. That put me in about 6th grade.

Given how old these songs are I guess I cannot complain too much about how they sound. Taken in the context of 1984 the production sounds only slightly below average. In context of 2012, I could probably make something on my phone that sounds better. But this comes from a very different technological era and I will treat it as such.

Listening to “Fit for Fight” I am trying to determine if 6th grade me would have been excited by these songs. 2012 me can only really get into them in the same way an archaeologist would get into something they had just dug out of the ground. Honestly, I think 6th grade me would have given this album a pass as well.

I think this album will probably only appeal to those who collect rare and obscure metal albums. I happen to be one of those people, so I would probably buy this regardless of what I think of the songs. Other than that I do not see this album having much appeal to the average metal listener, if for no other reason than it is so dated.