"Quiet Earth"

(Metal Blade)

01. Primal Emptiness Of Outerspace
02. Dark Towers
03. Slow Hand Of Death
04. Wendigo Pt. 1 (Quest For Fire)
05. These Are My Dress Clothes
06. Wendigo Pt. 2 (Cursed To Roam)
07. Medication
08. Quiet Earth

RATING: 8.5/10

It's funny how some the name of some bands fits the music so well. One listen to "Quiet Earth" by Vancouver's BISON B.C. and images immediately come to mind of enormous horned and hairy beasts stampeding through the snow as though wounded and starving. At the risk of sound painfully corny (though it hasn't stopped me in the past), "Quiet Earth" is full of elephantine riffs, rhinoceros-sized rhythms, and all the fury of a bull charging through the streets of Pamplona. It is that heavy.

The hirsute and the hoofed aside, "Quiet Earth" is a riff lover's dream. My god, guitarists James Farwell and Dan And (yes, And) — both also appropriately credited with "yelling" and "growling" — kick out the jams just as Rob Tyner exhorted folks to do in 1968. Rather than the MC5 though, the stylistic reference points are unequivocally HIGH ON FIRE, early MASTODON, and even a little LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR in so far as the riff-is-mightier-than-the-sword philosophy is concerned. As for digs at the act for taking their cues from said heavyweights, if everyone ignored bands that followed the path of, for example, SLAYER, then the pool of favorites would empty in a hurry.

"Quiet Earth" is more than just a riff-choked affair though. It is an album demonstrative of the quartet's songwriting acumen. In other words, the tunes actually go somewhere and offer something to grab hold of that will keep you coming back for more. "Primal Emptiness of Outer Space", "Slow Hand of Death", and "These are my Dress Clothes" are grand examples of tunes with loud, angry refrains that will burn into the brain and riffs that will leave you beaten and bloody.

Finally, BISON B.C. has mastered the art of the compositional detour. Every tempo shift, every sharp left turn, and every breakdown has a purpose and through it all the head keeps banging right along. "Wendigo Pt. 1 (Quest for Fire)" is the definitive song on the album in this regard with sing-along (OK, shout-and-growl-along) parts and massive arrangement breaks. No matter the song, the moments where you'll be anxiously waiting to hear where they go next are numerous. Pardon me once again, but this is one beast of an album. "Quiet Earth" is anything but quiet.


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