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Bionatops - Voices

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 October 2017, 11:19 AM

“When the world needed dissonant, spastic, thrash… we answered the call.”

Hailing from “parts unknown,” Avant Garde/Thrash/Progressive Metal band BIONATOPS  present “the debut album from your new favorite weirdos on Nefarious Industries.” Judging by some of the song titles, I think we could be in for a wild ride, but that’s fine, as my leanings are very liberal and my appreciation of music quite wide. So, let’s get to the album to find out what “Voices” is all about. “IntroVAINous” is a short opening instrumental, featuring mostly some smashing percussion and background noise. Like cats fighting in a bag, you are not quite sure what is going on until they emerge. “Voices” follows shortly thereafter. The opening guitar work is hard, heavy and aggressive, with some dissonance here and there. The vocals are spoken and muted to the theme of “it all started when the voices started yelling inside my head.” It isn’t altogether as weird as I initially expected, and the musicianship comes through strong.

“Perforate” features that heavy dissonance again, with cold and sterile riffing and vocal shouts that seem to come from the second head growing from your shoulder who didn’t quite get a fully formed brain. Willett’s drumming is really quite impressive. Energetic and varied, he can supply the rhythm when he needs to and turn up the speed with just the quick flick of a switch. I was very much looking forward to hearing about “The Great Pancake Massacre of 1957.” Bass guitar notes provide the opening sound, with some suspenseful notes and a feeling of foreshadowing. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, reminding me of the really unheralded band of the early 1990’s called SCATTERBRAIN. Comedy can mix very well in music, and sometimes you don’t need to take things so seriously, right?

How often do you get a track with just drumming on the album? Well, drummers rejoice, because Willett’s dark and inventive style almost sounds free-form and his accents are fascinating. Wallowing in the background is some eeriness that sounds like it’s coming from another dimension. “Groundkeeper Vs. Gopher” could be an ode to “Caddyshack?” Either way there is a PRIMUS sound structure to this song. It’s eccentric and strange for sure, as the vocals admonish the little gopher for just doing what is in his nature to do. “Every single day, every single day, every single day we fight,” he repeats over and over. “Ingrate” has a speedy, thrashy sound and vocals that go from calm words to agonizing screams. The various combinations of rhythms presented are almost too many to comprehend. I recommend you don’t bother trying, and just let this cumbersome sound pummel you.

Apparently, there is a seal thieving problem out there, for which no safe harbor will be granted. Vocalist Spiller talks about a nature trip he took and squared off against a seal who was harassing him at the docks. If nothing else, it sure is an entertaining song. “From Prehistoric to Pillow” is an aggressive song that has a lot of different elements driving the sound. When they pour it on fast, you get a crunchy, weighted sound that is akin to what going mad might sound like. At other times, there are some free-form passages that sound jazzy, though also fairly spastic. I had to look twice to make sure the final song title “Does it End of Begin” is correct, and indeed it is. What follows is a very loose song in the tradition of that definition. There are drums, bass, guitar and vocals, but they are each doing their own thing along the way.

It’s somewhat difficult to summarize the album here. There is a broad range of sounds that they present…pretty aptly described as “Avant Garde” Metal. The heaviness of the genre is present, and what I think the best that they offer here is their musicianship and imagination, and willingness to throw the proverbial kitchen sink into the mix as well. Without sounding pompous, I do think this would appeal to music fans who want a little more than just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and chorus, so fans of Progressive Music might have the widest appeal. But, you need to have a sense of humor as well, because if you do, it will make the experience more enjoyable. I find the album quite fascinating and would love to hear their next outing.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. IntroVAINous
2. Voices
3. Soured
4. Perforate
5. The Great Pancake Massacre of 1957
6. Drummerboy 1
7. Groundskeeper Vs. Gopher
8. Ingrate
9. No Safe Harbor for Thieving Seals
10. From Prehistoric to Pillow
11. Does it End of Begin
Joseph Spiller – All Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Jeff Willett – Drums 
Record Label: Nefarious Intustries


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