Biblical – The City That Always Sleeps 01I spent the summer searching and searching for the next great retro album. I never found it. In fact, all year I’ve only found a half-dozen albums I’ve really liked (as in a 3.5 or higher), and none of those since June. That’s piss-poor and depressing. It’s like owning a black and white television. Well, I’m hoping to upgrade to a color TV eventually this year, so what better time to start looking than right now? I’m hoping that by abandoning the search for retro goodness I can find something cvlt as fvck in another genre. Enter Biblical, a band from Toronto that attempts to blend elements of punk, psychedelic rock, dance, sludge, and noise to concoct something bombastically modern and, yes, cvlt as fvck. Can they pull it off?

Well, if Biblical can’t then they’re damn close. Opening track “Mature Themes” shows the band at their catchiest, with a swinging rhythm section, spaced-out guitars, and furious punk vocals interrupted by a psychedelic keyboard in the middle. It’s a piece of glorious chaos that, either despite or because of all the weirdness, works. Like a number of these songs, “Mature Themes” segues straight into “The Last Thing I Remember,” a much more restrained, trippy number with an interesting mix — drums more to the right, vocals more to the left, and some great tape flange effects towards the end, kind of like the old four-track recordings of the 60s. Stylistically, it’s completely different from the opening track, more an exercise in airy coolness, but thematically it fits perfectly. “Regicide” brings more of the too-cool attitude, with Nick Sewell crooning throughout and a glorious guitar solo thrown in to top things off.

Some quick background: half this four-piece played in Sebastien Granger and the Mountains, a short-lived indy rock band formed by the Death From Above 1979 drummer, while the other half hail from the excellent psych-rock band Comet Control, whose 2016 album Center of the Maze still finds its way onto my playlist from time to time. And you can hear influences from all three of those bands throughout, whether it’s the Pink Floyd nature of “Fugue State,” with undulating synth patches and David Gilmour-cloned vocals, or the psychedelic wash present throughout the title track, or the dance-punk leanings of “House of Knives” and “Mature Themes.”

It’s not all bright lights on The City That Always Sleeps, though. It’s true, I couldn’t find any bad songs on here, but the production is something else. The good news is, the over-saturated sound is completely intentional and fits with the music. Remember Radiohead’s OK Computer? Or how about The Flaming LipsYoshimi Battles the Pink Robots? Both of those had massive, overblown walls of percussion that exploded from the speakers. Same here. In fact, when Biblical are all pounding their instruments and mics to epic levels, the loudness of the recording is, well, biblical. It’s annoying as hell but as I say, it works with the music, making it an acceptable evil. It’s definitely going to be a game breaker for a lot of people, though.

Yes, The City That Always Sleeps is brickwalled to hell and back again. It’s got a fair degree of screech to it, both in the instruments and the vocals. The audiophile in me detests it, but I locked that part of me far away with other undesirable personalities, and I find myself playing the album more than I probably should. It’s bombastic, yes, and has a lot of catchy material on it. It’s the most un-metal album I’ve reviewed this year — maybe that’s why I’m playing it more than I thought I would? Regardless, Biblical have put out a record that’s a great capper on an otherwise tepid summer, and the best record I’ve reviewed since June. Hopefully, it’s a step towards that color television I’m dreaming about.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Tee Pee Records
Websites: biblical.bandcamp.com | biblicalband.com | facebook.com/biblicalband
Releases Worldwide: September 15th, 2017

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  • The album cover makes me think of a 538 article.

    Great review, I’m interested! As I’ve said time and again, it doesn’t need to be metal to be good music. No need to limit one’s self to one genre. I’m not going to lie, I am worried about the description of the mastering but hopefully my ear drums will survive.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      That’s a good call on the album cover. It practically glares Nate Silver frowny face at me.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      The mastering isn’t too hard to stomach when you realize it is intentional. Give it a spin, hopefully you like it!

    • Nukenado

      The cover would be amazing if it could wrap.

  • Nukenado

    That album art.
    That punk rock groove.
    HELL FUCKING YEAH!

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    “And thusly did the Lord spake: A whip for thy unicorn, a bridle for thy ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.” Proverbs 26:3

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: 

      Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, “Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the unicorns and lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three.Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      The Monty Python references seem to fall flat lately…..

  • Dr. Wvrm

    I feel you Huck. We’re not exactly looking in similar places, but the 4s have been scarce in our respective necks of the woods all summer.

  • ssorg

    How the hell am I supposed to tell if this is any good without a band pic??

  • Akerblogger

    I really, really like this album. It’s got swagger, dirtiness and songwriting-chops yet feels somewhat like a jam. Good stuff,

  • Septic

    I like it, I really do. Five songs in though, I want something heavier…

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Fuck ya T.O.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    This album is balls of fun.
    And refreshingly different.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    Ironically the video is in black and white, though.

  • Flyingguillotine

    Huh… I kinda dig this. It’s the type of band I throw on when I’m looking to downshift in heaviness for a bit, and break out Ghost, Baroness, Kvelertak, Night Flight Orchestra, etc.