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Big Business - Battlefields Forever (LP) - CLEAR VINYL
Awesome release from members of the Melvins & Murder City Devils! 2013 press on clear vinyl.
Unless you’re a devotee of the Seattle heavy rock/light metal trio Big Business, you’ve probably never heard of Gold Metal Records, the label behind the release of their excellent fourth album Battlefields Forever. The record, after all, is GM003, or the imprint’s third title. It follows only two short Big Business releases, 2011’s four-song Quadruple Single and a subsequent seven-inch single. But last October, with a mock press release signed by Gold Metal “corporate controller” Richard Smutley and a staged press conference submitted to YouTube, Big Business revealed that they’d issue Battlefields Forever on Halloween on their own Gold Metal Records in a variety of formats—that is, by themselves, without the support of a third or even second party. They’d stream and sell it through their website.
Battlefields Forever is as likable and unpredictable as anything they’ve ever done. Willis and Warren have never zigged and zagged stylistically like the Melvins, the other duo they’ve augmented off and on for the last six years, but there’s a patient and patent idiosyncrasy to their sound. No matter how familiar their oversized riffs or refrains first seem, they twist and turn in unexpected ways. On Battlefields Forever, for instance, Martin’s guitar delivers surprising accents and counterpoints. “Heavy Shoes” emerges from a slow bleed of amplifier hum, drums, and voices sprinting suddenly into vivid crisscross patterns. Warren’s low notes are the anchor, but Martin wraps his thin electric lead around the bass, an ornamental leather braid around a very big wooden bludgeon. The wonderfully weird “Trees” starts to feel like a hypothetical game of three-way ping-pong, with various voices bouncing through the mix only to be chased by the instruments. The band starts and stops, roars and drifts, screams and sings, delighting all along with the structural instability of the song’s basic shape. There’s a coruscating instrumental interlude named “Aurum” and a two-minute ripper called “Our Mutant” that suggests stoner metal accelerated by methamphetamine. And “No Vowels” is something of a Big Business prototype, with a riff so wide you want to fall into it and a chorus so casually perfect that it catches without you paying much mind.
But Big Business save the most monumental track here for he parting epic: “Lonely Lyle” shares the story of a shut-in with no intentions of breaking from his fastidious “hourglass.” It starts quietly, voices creeping over chords that suggest Slint. When the drums arrive, though, the song becomes a surge of drama, turning another silly Big Business story into a wake for its own sad subject. Martin chases their lead, inserting his lines between the bass and the drums like a hypeman. This band has never sounded as tough and as tender. Strangely, it suggests the approach and net effect of Deafheaven’s Sunbather, another not-quite-metal record that employed song volume and length to reinforce the weight of their themes. In 2013, “Lonely Lyle” could have had its deserved share of critical and popular company. But, so far, it hasn’t had that public luxury.
Original Release Year: 2013
Label: Gold Metal Records
Catalog #: GM003
Format: 12" Vinyl LP
Vinyl Color: Clear