Big Business: Battlefields Forever
(Gold Metal, 10/31/13)
Like potters throwing clay atop a spinning wheel and controlling its rotation to shape formless soil into adorned, reinforced rock, Seattle’s Big Business uses the basics — drums, guitar, bass — to kick up a hefty storm of accessibly intense rock ’n’ roll.
Battlefields Forever, the band’s fourth full-length, is the usual mix of riff-heavy, brooding stoner rock stretched over warm pop hooks and a penchant for the ridiculous. The fourth track, “Trees,” begins with foreboding synth-esque sounds but quickly expands into a larger-than-human-life opus with at least four memorable guitar patterns. Bass player / singer Jarred Warren chimes in with his trademark raspy yowl, “Those trees…those trees live forever!” Later track “Heavy Shoes” is a punchy rumination on the working day with a guest vocalist. “Doomsday, Today!” finds Warren opining about monkeys as new guitarist Scott Martin shreds and drummer Coady Willis makes it sound like he’s playing no less than two full kits.
Battlefields Forever is equal parts humor and intensely delivered stoner gloom, which is evidenced in the album’s last track, “Lonely Lyle.” It’s a sort of sad march through a battlefield of ghosts, but it also manages to recall the sappy imagery of Led Zeppelin or Rush — but with the gritty delivery of the Melvins (of which Willis and Warren are a part).