"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Bison b.c. - "Earthbound" (CD)

Bison b.c. - "Earthbound" CD cover image

"Earthbound" track listing:

1. Stokasaurus
2. Wartime
3. Dark Skies Above
4. The Curse
5. Cancer Rat
6. Earthbound

Reviewed by on September 17, 2010

"'Earthbound' represents the concrete jungle of Vancouver and the grassy plains for which the Bison horde charged forth from, stampeding to certain destruction throughout the globe."

“Earthbound” is where it all began for these Vancouver, Canada heavy metal behemoths. In just four short years Bison (now known as Bison B.C.) has become one of metal’s most promising up and coming acts, with 3 studio albums released in that time and countless tours throughout North America and Europe.

It wasn't long ago when the guys in Bison were just four local dudes drinking a pint of local brew, hanging out with all of the Vancouver metalheads and denim patch vest enthusiasts. Not long ago, seeing as if you’re from Vancouver you are more than likely to run into these guys at every metal gig; when they're not on tour of course. Underground metal attention hasn't changed Brad, Dan, James, and Masa one bit. Bison loves metal and the members love their hometown. “Earthbound” represents the concrete jungle of Vancouver and the grassy plains for which the Bison horde charged forth from, stampeding to certain destruction throughout the globe.

I guess I may be a bit biased with this one. I rarely ever link my reviews to that of the first person mentality but “Earthbound” just brings to mind so many epic metal memories. Don't get me wrong, “Earthbound” is a badass album with thundering guitar riffage, concrete breaking bass lines, and pummeling drum work, but for me it goes so far beyond just six incredible, sludgy metal anthems. Out of my top 10 all time best metal concerts, no less than 4 include Bison in some capacity.

“Earthbound” represents the late nights spent on Vancouver’s famed downtown eastside, crammed into small pubs that reeked of stale beer and vomit and were without a doubt filled to double capacity, all while having the shit kicked out of me by the monstrous sounds that the four guys of Bison create once they step up on stage. Trust me, Bison has earned the reputation for being Vancouver’s most intense live act for a reason. Words like that can’t be bought.

While the band certainly became heavier and slightly more progressive with the following two albums “Quiet Earth” and “Dark Ages,” the fact remains the same: “Earthbound” is a beast. Tracks like “Stokasaurus” deliver a knockout punch right out of the gate with its low end tones and aggressive riffing. Unconventional strum patterns also add to the chaos and really make you miss the welcoming brutality of a mosh pit. “Wartime” is yet another speedy, thick, and technical Bison track that is phenomenal in both its atmosphere and just overall metal mastery. Not only are those songs insanely heavy, but melody and Bison are also two things that go hand in hand. But not in the same way that other metal bands combine melody into their sound. “The Curse” is an awesome example of Bison’s injection of melody into the song’s filthy rock riffing and ever so slight clean vocal style. When all is said and done, every song on “Earthbound” is fantastic.

While “Earthbound” has been sold out for a while now, and only 1100 copies of the record were ever printed, it is available online and is well worth the purchase. From end to end this debut album features some of the most abrasive, sludgy heavy metal out there and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a modern metal beat down with an old school vibe. It may not be as magical as experiencing it live and in the flesh, but it is damn near close.

Highs: Crushing heavy metal, done the right way.

Lows: A select few sections seem similar to one another.

Bottom line: An album that delivers a sludgy punch to the gut with every track.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)