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culture

Sound Advice: Monsoon Season, by Biblical

The debut release from Toronto's Biblical is a surprising, powerful, and elemental record.

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New Damage, the fledging aggressive music imprint of respected Toronto-based indie label Dine Alone Records, has been assembling an ever-more impressive roster of talent: two records it released last year, KEN Mode’s Entrench and the Flatliners’ Dead Language, recently received Juno nominations. On March 11, it put out Monsoon Season, the full-length debut from Biblical—a gargantuan record that fuses hard rock’s energy and nimbleness with the rich tones and towering riff structures of psychedelia and sludge metal. A powerful, elemental record, Monsoon Season looks to be yet another banner release for the label.

The talent that has assembled to form Biblical is staggering. Vocalist and bassist Nick Sewell is perhaps best known for his time in Illuminati, but also played for years with garage metal monsters Tchort. Sewell, along with guitarist and keyboardist Andrew Scott, also performed with the Mountains, Sebastien Grainger’s backing band on his 2008 solo effort. Scott is also known for his work in indie-pop outfit the Bicycles. Drummer Jay Anderson and guitarist/vocalist Matt McLaren also worked with Scott in Luca Maoloni’s eclectic ensemble the Old Soul.

Their first full-length effort, Monsoon Season, is surprising even considering the careers of the artists who created it. They have a particular talent for creating moments of surprise, like sludge-laden breakdowns drenched in the chords of an organ, or the pairing of Kyuss-like, tectonic vastness with driving, relentless energy. Their songwriting has a brightness to it, a sunny quality similar to that evoked in Torche’s last two releases.

Which technically Biblical conjures images of heat and light, the songwriting itself takes place in an entirely difference register: Monsoon Season is an emotional deluge. The vocals on “All Justice, No Peace” ache with a deep and abiding despair that defies the idea of closure and explores how ideas of justice or fairness often involve simply layering one tragedy on top of another. “Married Man” is at once cheeky and grim, with a healthy sense of black humour and a heady dose of longing. The 11–minute titular track is unquestionably the heart of the record—a steady downpour of texture and tone that exposes the listener mercilessly to the elements, reminding us that we very seldom get to take shelter from what we’re going through: all we can do is weather it.

You can stream the track “Second Sight” from Monsoon Season here.

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