Bismuth has been my personal discovery of 2018 and the way I found out about them is what makes it even better. Being the gear nerd I am, I frequently visit tons of amps & pedals groups on facebook. Sometimes you can find pure gold there, but let’s be real—most of the time, it’s just piles and piles of annoying blues lawyers, worship musicians (yup, it’s a thing), tone snobs, and random teenagers solely posting “does it djent”, or dumb shit like that.
In short, a pretty boring sausage fest.
That’s why it is beyond cool when one day I noticed Tanya commenting about her four amplifier setup for her two-piece band. Now, if you know me, you understand why I get excited about walls of amps and two-piece bands. If you don’t know me—I get excited about walls of amps and two-piece bands. Especially ones that play slowly and do not have guitars in them. I play in a such a band too. Ha.
Bismuth hail from Nottingham, UK, and play slow and mean drone music, armed with bass and drums only. Oh, and the aforementioned wall of super-powerful amplifiers, of course. If I haven’t lost you until now, the next album will probably get you too!
Bismuth‘s second full-length, “The Slow dying of the Great Barrier Reef”, is monolithic, heavy and brain-melting enough to be in heavy circulation for the past few months. I wanted to review this record right away, but did the right thing and waited until I got my vinyl from Rope or Guillotine to be able to get the full experience.
And boy, do Bismuth deliver!
This album is released by four (damn good!) labels—Dry Cough Records, Tartarus Records, Medusa Crush Recordings and Rope or Guillotine. It consists of two tracks, one of which exceeds the 30-minute mark. Heavy duty noise/drone/doom where atmospheric soundscapes meet gurgling bass lines and crushing drums all the way through the title track. The subsequent six-minute “Weltschmerz” adds a bit of a balance with its’ raw screaming energy. Pure bliss!
Overall, you should totally listen to this album in one sitting, or not bother at all. You can’t just put it on while you do the dishes or pet your cat.
The slow dying of the Great Barrier Reef is heavy, grim and unsettling in the most beautiful way imaginable.
Bassist/vocalist Tanya spits out her lyrics with such passion, I always picture a seriously pissed witch condemning humanity of the twisted shit we’ve done to Mother Earth. When not destroying our eardrums with her truly massive sound, Tanya works as a scientist researching volcanoes.
The current political discourse on how to reduce our impact on ecosystems is stuck in semantics, all while these systems degrade. I believe we can reduce our impact, and I am hopeful that solutions will be found. However, many of these solutions are halted, while governments argue over who is to blame. The album title makes reference to the fact that climate change is affecting this habitat extremely, and inaction is one of the biggest causes of it’s decline.
On the other hand, drummer Joe really adds up with his perfectly tailored ten-tonne beats, in his signature devastating fashion. A true behemoth of a drummer!
My humble piece of advice for you today is: Go get this record, kids!
You won’t regret it. Or you will. I don’t care, really.
We’re all gonna die anyway…