Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bison B.C.: Dark Ages (2010) Review

I know I say this a lot: They sound like Remission-era Mastodon. But I think I'm entitled to say that a lot, as everyone and their mother wants to sign the next Mastodon (I think Relapse wants to sign the next twenty Mastodons). Bison B.C. is Metal Blade's attempt to sign the next Mastodon, and Dark Ages is these Canadians' third album.

They start the album off with a puzzling choice, the mellower and more subdued "Stressed Elephant". But once you get into that, it's clear they've decided to continue to improve on the progressive and slightly thrashy sludge metal of their breakthrough Quiet Earth.

As far as their sound goes, they seem more like an early-Mastodon clone than anyone else out there. It's very heavy, very sludgy, and there are caveman vocals galore.

While some sludge bands tend to sound better when they slow things down, Bison sounds better when they're fast. "Two-Day Booze" is a perfect example, a highlight of the album. Of course, they sound good slow, too; check out "Melody, This Is for You". And while Mastodon is too progressive for some, their fellow woolly mammals never let noodling carry them too far away. "Wendigo Pt. 3 (Let Him Burn)" is the most progressive thing on the album, and it's a clear standout track.

The Verdict: This stuff is heavy and very catchy sludge, with just the right amount of progressive. As far as Mastodon sound-alikes go, Bison B.C. is near the top of the heap. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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