Dark Ages (Metal Blade)
By Mike Delano
You know what they say about lipstick on a pig? It applies here, although not quite in the same way. Bison B.C. can dress up the music on Dark Ages any way they like, whether it’s accessorizing with some echo-drenched acoustic guitar on the bookend of “Stressed Elephant” or letting loose ear-peeling static to close “Fear Cave.” Whatever they do, they can’t hide their true intention, which is to rock out in a lumbering, fuzzy head-trip fashion that handily recalls the image of their namesake let loose in a Fabergé egg warehouse. Comparisons to a pig may be unflattering, but it’s quite the opposite for a metal band likened to a rampaging bison – this is exactly the kind of hairy, chest-beating stuff that inspires headbanging devotion. Drummer Brad McKinnon even keeps his bandmates on a tight schedule, rocketing everything constantly forward and never indulging their sludgy tendencies with a doomy detour, so the next Maiden-inspired super-riff (“Two-Day Booze”) or gloriously succinct guitar solo (“Die of Devotion”) is never too far around the corner.