King Bison – ‘Snake Head Burial’

By Kieran Howells

Delving into ‘Snake Head Burial’, it’s obvious that Portsmouth’s King Bison are lifelong subscribers to the cult of doom. The influence of Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin and their peers from across the pond Clutch, Down and Cancer Bats, is almost immediately felt in the opening guitar riffs of first track ‘B.B.V.S’. It has all the subtlety of being hit in the face with a brick dowsed in Jack Daniels.

Whilst ‘B.B.V.S’ ticks all of the classic stoner metal boxes, it overlooks the depth and atmosphere that could differentiate it from the crowd. This is in part due to the absence of cohesion between the instruments and the vocals and in part due to the over compressed production throughout the record.

However, the jarring disparity between instruments and vocals doesn’t plague the whole release, as second song ‘Who’s Got Your Back’ proves. Whilst maintaining the clout of its predecessor, the song flows with a far more natural rhythm that compliments the raspy vocals of front man Karl Glover whilst not losing the wall of fuzz that the band so vehemently constructs. This again translates well onto third track ‘Demon Tongues & Leather’, which concentrates on matching the melodic groove of the vocals, rather than seeing how much distortion can be produced in three and a half minutes.

The slowest moment on ‘Snake Head Burial’ arrives on closing track ‘Filthy Son Of A Bitch’, which builds steadily into the strongest track on the EP. The band take more chances with a greater and more diverse vocal range and choppy riffs that show the extent of their song-writing prowess. It’s an impressive end to a release that initially struggles to get off of the ground, but ultimately shines a light on genuine, passion-led talent. The inevitable forthcoming full length will define whether King Bison have what it takes to move away from the doom metal status quo and stand out from the crowd.

KIERAN HOWELLS

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