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Bison (BC) prep ‘You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient’ (stream a track)

words by Chris Rowella

Bison

Vancouver’s Bison (aka Bison B.C. when legally necessary) will celebrate a decade as a band this year; their Earthbound EP came out alongside two genre-defining albums in the sludge game, High On Fire’s Death Is This Communion and Baroness’ Red Album. While Bison would hone and improve their sound on subsequent Metal Blade full-lengths Quiet Earth and Dark Ages, they never approached the stature of those bands, or that of many of their peers. Shame, as those two albums – and to a lesser degree, the uneven-but-still-great Lovelessness – are great examples of well-written, memorable metal, regardless of genre.

Five years on from Lovelessness, with a new label and bass player in tow, Bison return with You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient. It may prove to be the band’s best album yet; while previous releases had great songs, Ocean has a cohesive, deliberate structure that the other albums lack. The band’s affinity for longer songs and a dual vocal attack are firmly in place, as well as their knack for weaving bursts of thrash between the slower sinews of sludge.
The songs flow effortlessly into one another, culminating in album closer “Water Becomes Fire.” It starts slow, layering guitars atop what sounds like a fiddle or violin, distortion building and blasting for a few moments before pulling back again. The dynamic is familiar but effective; Neurosis has built their brand on the ‘soft-loud-swirl-dirge-repeat’ hook, and Bison follows it (mostly) to the letter here. That’s no sleight; plenty of bands attempt the same thing and fall away, whereas Bison sounds like they used their time away to figure out what works best and went with that. Stay the course, fellas.

“Water Becomes Fire” premieres below. The new album drops on June 23 in Europe and July 7 in North America via Pelagic (pre-order). Here’s what the band themselves say about the new song:

Hello workers. Please indulge in this tense composition titled Water Becomes Fire. Rejoice as you take part in the everyday battles and continue the war against those miserable bastards who may try to make light of your love’s true aim.

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