Hybrid progressive/thrash/power metal band Biogenesis returns with a Black Widow, a limited release 5 song ep, that should hold fans until their next full length is released.
For the last 17 years, Biogenesis as a band has come and gone, testing the patience of fans, many of whom were hooked after hearing their debut The Mark Bleed Through oh so many years ago. While some consider that album a masterpiece, the band did not have that same lineup back together for an album until 2012’s The Rise, The Fall, The Rebirth. That didn’t last long and the band went on hiatus for while until original guitarist James Riggs cam back and the Nealeigh’s were added on keyboard, drums and bass to fill out the band lineup for the critically acclaimed A Decadence Divine.
Bands that incorporate progressive elements into their sound do tend to redefine terms like ep. Black Widow by Biogenesis is a 5 song ep but clocks in around 33 minutes, which is longer than some band’s full length albums. There will only be around 200 physical copies of the ep released so those wanting one would be advised to get their preorders in quickly. From a content standpoint, the band was looking for a way to reach their fans while working on their next full length, a follow up to 2017’s A Decadence Divine. After a history of adding and losing members, this lineup appears largely unchanged from their last album and from a performance standpoint, that is a good thing as the musicianship is strong with the band. Production quality is top notch, so the band definitely didn’t rush this out, listening to it one can hear the time spent making it sound perfect.
“Black Widow” kicks things off with an acoustic guitar opening and an opening that is reminiscent in part to that of Metallica’s “That Was Just Your Life”, but that similarity ends quickly. The guitars and drums work great coming in over top of the acoustic guitar and there is just enough keyboard present in the mix to add some more depth to the overall sound. Chaz Bond is in good form in the song varying styles from clean singing to death growls. Add in some choir-like backing vocals, some great drums and bass work by Eli Closson and Dan Nealeigh, repectively and a section where guitars and keyboards trade solos and then go in unison, and you have a great power metal song that has a progressive influence.
“Human Equilibrium” continues with the progressive theme as the song wastes no time in shifting from a straight forward rhythm to one more complex. The song itself touches on the racial divide being promoted by so many in these days and the band takes on a sonic journey that goes from melodic to frenetic with no warning. The band shows they can deliver a great headbanging groove as well as they can the technical drumming and riffs found in the more technical side of the genre. Throughout it all there is that underlying keyboard that really helps ties the song together and of course there is another guitar vs keyboard solo battle.
The band slows things down considerably for the lone ballad-type song on the ep. Acoustic guitars and keyboards dominate the early part of the song with Eli Closson’s drums again being in a strong supporting role. The guitars and backing vocals join in for a quick chorus between verses 1 and 2. This is the one song that just seemed a bit out of place for me.
As if realizing they may be losing some audience at this point, the band made a wise decision in having the next track be a cover of the Deliverance song “Flesh and Blood” in all it’s thrashy glory. Loud guitars and a fast riff punctuated by rapid-fire drums kick the song off and let you know that this particular version with be as hard as the original, if not more. The song is filled with great riffs and driving rhythms all backed by Chaz Bond’s darker vocals and throughout it all the subtle keyboards.
“Anti-Evolution” closes out the ep and showcases some great bass work in the beginning that is somewhat overshadowed by the guitars. Once the verses start the band goes for a more technical riff and arrangement than found on other songs for the album, even incorporating a marching riff and rhythm to which Chaz Bond can bark out lyrics. Those with a keen ear can pick out some more Metallica influence in one part of the song as it pays homage to part of “One”.
Biogenesis have gifted their fans with a great collection of songs that they can hope to hear and more on the upcoming full length album. As with their previous release the band combines elements from multiple styles and musicians in a package that is equally complex, heavy, and beautiful.
Written by John Jackson
1. Black Widow
2. Human Equilibrium
4. Flesh and Blood (Deliverance cover)
Chaz Bond – Vocals
James Riggs – Rhythm Guitar
Sam Nealeigh – Keyboard
Luke Nealeigh – Lead Guitar
Dan Nealeigh – Bass
Eli Closson – Drums
Release Date: Dec. 14th. 2018
Record Label: Roxx Records
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