Album number four from the band formerly known as Bison B.C. has been nearly five years in the making. Since the release of their last record, they’ve been dropped from Metal Blade, replaced their bassist and issued a lone, two-track, digital-only single… so you might say they’ve fallen off the map. Can this record re-establish the most influential outfit from the East Van sludge scene?
You are Not the Ocean… begins with more of a post-sludge note in “Until the Earth is Empty,” with the heavy riffs initially intermingled with some cleaner guitar tones. That’s not to say this number doesn’t pack a punch—the driving verse sounds like vintage Bison, and there’s no shortage of heavy breakdowns, either, with them notably picking up the pace for a shredding solo right around the four-minute mark. “Anti War” is a three-minute burst of thrashing, churning breakdowns, culminating in a hard-pounding chorus, before “Drunkard” tunes it down a notch with some crunchy, heavy sludge that borders on noise-rock territory à la Unsane or Today is the Day.
The seven-and-a-half minute “Tantrum” throws in a few more post-metal flourishes, including a rogue violin, but at its core, ’tis still a heavy vegetable. “Raiigin” might be the heaviest tune on this one, even incorporating the fiddle into its downtuned despondency, before picking up the pace past the two-minute mark. Both a step forward and a return to form, Bison is back, baby!