Bison – Earthbound [Reissue] (2018) REVIEW

‘Earthbound’ was originally released as a limited run digipack on the first (of two) releases from the shuttered Forest Records. In the hands of roughly a thousand people over the last decade the debut EP from free-wheeling Vancouver, British Colombia stoner-sludge metal foursome Bison (not to be confused with Bison, Bison) is immediately familiar in conveying the state of sludge rock of it’s time. Just a few years after High on Fire‘s highly influential ‘Blessed Black Wings’ you can hear it’s spark lighting up ‘Earthbound’ throughout, especially in the faster paced parts of “Dark Skies Above”. But to stop there wouldn’t do Bison any justice because their sound on this EP is also highly informed by stoner rock a la Kyuss and Fu Manchu (see: “The Curse”) and leaned towards the stoner metal end of the spectrum rather than sludge/doom metal.

The EP inadvertently led to their signage to Metal Blade Records in an era where anything resembling Mastodon and Baroness was an easy sell. So, if you’re expecting something very close to their debut ‘Quiet Earth’ the vocals are a bit different here and there is a punkish 90’s rock quality to ‘Earthbound’ that was less apparent in their 2008 incarnation. I prefer the earlier years of Bison pre-‘Lovelessness’ just for the less serious, more optimistic feeling of their records and ‘Earthbound’ is equally their most standard issue recording and most energetic. The band’s more recent stuff starts to edge into the progressive sludge metal territory that is self-serious and not as joyous as their earlier approach. To that effect ‘Earthbound’ is a big yellow sunflower of stoner metal fun. A very worthy reissue and a big grab for stoner/sludge metal hybrid fans who missed out on Bison‘s beginnings.

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Artist Bison
Type EP
Released 2007 [Ltd. Digipak] | April 20, 2018 [CD/LP/Digital]
BUY/LISTEN on No List Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Bison on Facebook
Genres
Stoner Metal, Stoner Rock, Sludge Metal

Out of morals to defend. 3.5/5.0

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