Album Review: Bison B.C. – Dark Ages

Oh my. Oh my, oh my. How can one even begin to describe this monolithic, colossal, gargantuan beast of an album? The answer lies in another question – you thought Mastodon was heavy? They look like Hannah Montana playing with Hello Kitty dolls compared to this sledgehammer of a band. No, seriously.

Bison B.C. Dark AgesTake opening track ‘Stressed Elephant’, for instance. Is this what angry, frustrated pachyderms sound like? Fuck knows, but I imagine this song is exactly what it would be. The riffs on this, and every other song on this seven song, 47 minute colossus, are so lumbering and (there’s no other word for it) elephantine, that you’re tempted to run for cover at first. The self-described “Canadian dirtbags” have been out on tour with Baroness, and it’s easy to see how that influence might have crept into ‘Dark Ages’. But make no mistake – this is a Bison B.C. record through and through, so you get the trademark sludge guitar tones and doom-laden riffing with James Farwell’s despairing-yet-despising vocals on top of that cacophony (am I the only one who thinks he looks like a bearded Brian Slagel?).

But this is a more mature Bison B.C. and more than half the songs clock in at over 6 minutes each, as the brutish, balls-to-the-walls speed and aggression of ‘Fear Cave’ complements the progressive-minded ‘Melody, This Is For You’. The mammoth album closer ‘Wendingo Pt. 3 (Let Him Burn)’ even brings Crowbar to mind at times, with its winding passages of aural anguish and raw power.

Inevitably, at the end of the year, there will be “Best of” lists being made, and inevitably, the three-week period between the release of Triptykon’s ‘Eparistera Daimones’ and Bison B.C.’s ‘Dark Ages’ will be seen as a landmark. Both albums, in their own unique ways, have pushed the bar of heavy music a little higher and heavier.

Fee-fi-fo-fum, the beast is alive and called Bison! [9]

Dark Ages is out April 13, 2010 on Metal Blade Records


About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

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