Personnel: Dan And, James Farwell (vocals, guitar); Matt Wood (drums).
Recording information: Electrical Audio, Chicago, IL (06/2012); Soma Studio, Chicago, IL (06/2012).
Photographer: John Wellman.
Like Mastodon, Bison B.C. are named for a large woolly beast and excel at combining doom, sludge, hardcore, and prog influences into intriguing musical shapes. So sue them! Really, every last band working in metal sounds, in one way or another, like Black Sabbath, and you don't see Sharon Osbourne bringing a class-action suit against them all...yet. In any case, Bison B.C.'s third full-length, 2012's Lovelessness, not surprisingly builds upon the creative foundation established by their impressive first efforts, and while similarities with Mastodon (and, err, Sabbath) naturally persist, one would be shortsighted to deny this Canadian quartet a fair shake for the compelling quality of their evil riffs, crushing power chords, and fleet-fingered counterpoint licks. In fact, as new songs like "Last and First Things," "Blood Music," and the tellingly twin-named "Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness" bulk up to nine- and ten-minute durations, Bison B.C.'s increasingly dynamic twists and turns have more in common with, say, Opeth's unpredictable compositional aesthetic than Mastodon's exotic but relatively regimented approach. More importantly, Bison B.C. remain significantly dirtier and fiercer than either of them, as evidenced by the hardcore attack of "An Old Friend" and "Clozapine Dream" -- both of which carry subliminal traces of '70s rock and metal influences nestled deep inside their DNA, later revealed more clearly by the atypically plaintive harmonies saddling the closing "Finally Asleep." Really, whatever shape they assume, Bison B.C.'s creations for Lovelessness largely succeed on the strength of those imaginative arrangements and by proving themselves improbably infectious despite their brute fa‡ade. Who knew such a woolly beast could also make itself so lovable even as its music is goring you to death. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia