by Jamila Pomeroy
The Rickshaw Theatre
March 30th, 2018
VANCOUVER – Fists and horns to the sky, beer cans being catapulted into the air, it is here; the golden age of the west coast fathers of sludge metal, Bison. This year marks the 11th anniversary of their debut EP Earthbound. While the band has gone through name and label changes, their capability to bring heavy, crushing tunes remains constant.
With ominus red lights and luming fog, Bison begins their set with “Stokasaurus”, the first track of Earthbound. The sound blends up-beat crushing guitar harmonies, with raunchy bass that rattles your innards. Earthbound bleeds a certain sexy party rock/metal quality while casting its liquor drenched licks on the audience. The spell was well received as the pit began to brew and boil, producing handbanging from their leather and metal vest wearing fans; a little sweaty and steamy, in the very packed venue. Jack Daniels is poured down the throat of guitarist and vocalist James Farwell, “Gnarwell”, while he plays guitar, solidifying they are here to party.
Bison breaks from their old material with a long droned out and dreamy soundscape, anteceding “Until The Earth Is Empty” off of their new album “You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient”. The song adds a darker, nefarious quality; slower portions of the song resembling the downtempo instrumentals of black metal bands, such as Mayhem. This new dimension of sonic macabre, hell-spun composition, renders fresh layers of darkness. While the mood has always been heavy with Bison, You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient, exacerbates the common themes of darkness; evoking melancholic saturated feelings.
With the proof of fan dedication in the passionate lips of singing concert-goers, and You Are Not The Ocean You Are The Patient displaying the bands dedication to growth; the Vancouver natives rein supreme, proving they are beyond the beer-bellied party rocking anthems, and in fact, an iconic face melting delicacy.