"The Beast You Are"

(Joyful Noise)

01. Abdominal Snowman
02. Heal the Weak
03. Complacency Is Killing You
04. Bright Grey
05. Time and Heat
06. The Moor You Know
07. People Behave
08. We Can Swarm
09. El Pollo
10. We'll Take the Good Package
11. Last Family
12. Under Everest
13. Let Them Grind

RATING: 8/10

BIG BUSINESS has been a breath of fresh air in the realm of rock 'n' roll and heavy music for nearly 15 years. With "The Beast You Are", the two-piece's sixth album, nothing has changed on that front, and it fortunately isn't simply more of the same. BIG BUSINESS has never made a misstep, per se. The unit has learned through experience what works best, and "The Beast You Are" finds BIG BUSINESS in prime fighting form as the release offers the band's catchiest material to date.

The Los Angeles-based act has clearly become aware that its greatest strength is the initial template: The specific individuals that comprise the two-piece lineup. Bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis challenged that formula following their 2005 debut, "Head for the Shallow", as they plumped up their personnel with a variety of guitarists to the point that they were even a four-piece once upon a time. Somewhat concurrently, the two men joined up with the highly acclaimed MELVINS, extending significant contributions to albums like "Nude With Boots". Comparisons to said band are inevitable, not just for the fact that they were members for nearly a decade, but because Warren's massive, throaty yells are reminiscent of Buzz's timbre; the two bands are based upon a foundation of hard-hitting, undeniably heavy, sludge-drenched rock; and they've similarly delved into experimentation.

BIG BUSINESS actually returned to the two-piece format for 2016's "Command Your Weather", but "The Beast You Are" takes the gargantuan sound to greater heights with greater production clarity and improved songwriting; not that the band was lacking in that department beforehand. When he's not bashing the drums with murderous intensity, Willis impressively dances around Warren's ever-present, memorable bass-driven groove. The penchant for experimenting with sounds is just as psychedelic as ever—occasionally meandering without purpose, but typically playful and adventurous with fruitful results. We would expect nothing less from a band that has, out of boredom, toyed with journalists by answering trivial "where did you guys meet" questions with absurd stock answers: "At a prison rodeo." And we can't forget the endless puns—the album includes song titles like "Abdominal Snowman" and "The Moor You Know"—that seem like inside jokes that are somehow amusing as well.

BIG BUSINESS is in its finest form, however, when there is more focused intent with relatively more linear, hard rock compositions in tow. And that is the clear focal point on "The Beast You Are". "El Pollo", for one, is just as pummeling as it is memorable. In a nutshell, BIG BUSINESS has aged like a fine wine. The band has homed in on its impressive ability to pen songs that are catchy, emotive and burly as hell. And what makes them a cut above the rest is that characteristic ability to pepper the songs with their odd-ball nature and personality. "The Beast You Are" is forward-thinking, left-of-center music for people who are bored with pedestrian rock and heavy music.


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