It might not be borne of the thickest of sonic mud to consume the senses, but Lovelessness from Canadian sludgers Bison b.c. is certainly one of the most corrupted and venomous releases to gestate in the imagination this year. It is an album which suffocates light and hope, especially within its theme of the desperation in the search for love. It is a collection of searing and smothering tracks which scald emotions and numb the senses. The release is a violent canker, an erosion of fantasy and reality, depending on your direction of view, and an album which one blissfully and willingly wants to continue to suffer.
Released via Metal Blade Records, Lovelessness is the third full length album from the band and shows that the quartet has not mellowed in attitude or sound. Recorded alongside acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Yob, Pelican, Rwake, Yakuza, Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, Unearthly Trance), the album is a raw corrosion which engulfs the ear and beyond in sonic flames and insidious intensity. Whether it offers anything strikingly new is debatable but as a blistering and vindictive alternative to safety within peace it cannot be faulted.
From the opening smoking guitar weaves of first track An Old Friend, a sizzling form of mesmerism is begun. The guitar play of James Farwell and Dan And unleash a fiery tease which evolves into a heavy and chaining groove to immediately capture the imagination. It holds a repetitive structure and course for the moment as the vocals of both men squall like wind driven flames, their tones an acidic spiteful rub. As the bass of Masa Anzai prowls within the melodically flaring sparks and thumping rhythms of Matt Wood, it is impossible not to be sucked into the impressive tempest of stoner sounds and energies. Into its stride the track flexes its muscle and pace, making for a riotous and merciless pleasure. It is a track without unnecessary complications and involvements, just a thoroughly compulsive and unforgiving rage.
If the first song is a rage the following Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness is a volcanic eruption of punk spite and unbridled abrasions. From its excellent opening first minute crust punk destruction, the track evolves through to a scarring soundscape of jarring rhythms and magnetic discord. It verges on painful but always is wholly absorbing, the sharp imagination and scowling vocals springing from the emotive suffering and intrusive sonic salt. The track never lets go of its psyche tearing grip, its presence igniting passions and suffering with equal but continually welcome accomplishment.
Last and First Things and Blood Music both continue the destructive intent of the release, the first emerging from a distressed ambience into a furnace of insatiable classic metal and stoner shards twisted into spears of irresistible might and grandeur. The song is as raw and malevolent as any other on the release but holds an imperial blues breath within its creativity. The second of the two like many tracks starts with restrained and open lures before shredding their more polite shackles to rampage and distress the senses. The song is a more thrash cored piece, a bruising encounter which takes its time to create the fullest of damage but is sure of its aim and target.
Lovelessness is an album which takes time to become the contagious companion it ultimately will with all stone/sludge/ doom fans, its uncompromising intensity and creativity as noxious as its lyrical theme. Ending with two more staggering and undeniably satisfying tracks in Clorapine Dream and Finally Asleep, both further sonic poisons to devour without reticence, the album is an impressive and appetizing consumption. Bison b.c. might not have given the album of the year but certainly have let loose one of the more aggravating pleasures to be assaulted by.
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