PREVIEW: Bison – You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient

Release date: July 7, 2017

BISON came home to Vancouver to record their upcoming LP, doing so at Rain City Recorders with the help of the prolific Jesse Gander. That’s fitting for a record that was influenced by the city itself. It’s “a story of a new life and escaping the city, while still being tethered to it,” according to guitarist/vocalist James Farwell.

There is no messing around on BISON’s You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient. The opening track — ‘Until The Earth Is Empty’ — delivers an absolute ripper of an intro, leaving us a full 1:20 to marinate in the riffs before Farwell’s vocals kick in.

‘Until The Earth Is Empty’ sets up an epic feel which runs throughout the entire album. The Vancouver band has dialled up the sludge on this, their fourth full-length — treating us to some slow, dripping, heavy riffs. On the other hand, parts of the album are prime headbanging material, driving up the intensity. While all 7 tracks are full-on ragers, third track ‘Drunkard’ is a particularly intense listen.

The album’s tone, musically and lyrically, is unapologetically over-the-top. A great example of this is ‘Raiigin,’ where we hear screams of “We’re gonna drown in fire! FIIIIRRREE!” It’s one of those lines that looks a bit daft written down but sounds epic blasting from your speakers along with growling guitars and pounding drums.

Sticking with that slightly hyperbolic atmosphere, the fourth track — ‘Kenopsia’ — is named after an entry in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows which means “the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.” That’s a very evocative definition that is, thankfully, matched by the track. Thematically, it also ties into the sort of manifesto which the band has written for this album.

BISON has tight control of the songs on this album, particularly in ‘Tantrum’ and ‘The Water Becomes Fire’ — both of which start gently and then build to some seriously heavy, sweaty madness, scale back to a gentler tempo before raging out again. That ability from the band to switch things up helps keep the album interesting as you listen.

You Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient will be released in North America on July 7, 2017, on Pelagic Records. The album is available for pre-order on CD and vinyl. Until then, check out the first track below.

Rock out with BISON at the Rickshaw on Friday, June 16, with support from locals BRASS and Satan’s Cape, as well as Regina’s Black Thunder.

Click here to read my review with BISON’s James Farwell.