State of Mind
Never Trust An Asshole Records
Belgian band BIAS have released a debut influenced by acts such as NOFX, Strung Out and UMFM, full of short, fast and loud tracks. Though they are a punk band at heart using all the main elements of punk in their music they are clearly also influenced by many other genres most obviously metal with some of the guitar work on offer here.
Opening the album in a slightly underwhelming way with the under 2 minute ‘Breaking Even’ and it’s fast drums and high pitched guitar bringing us into proceedings. Next track ‘Gaia Bleeds’ follows on from the first track with almost exactly the same sound especially drums-wise and the typically punk angst ridden shouted vocals.
‘Friends & Family’ is a much more interesting track; its prominent bass line adds a low-pitched tone. Again the drums are quick but they complement the bass well, there is an end of song breakdown to fade out of scuzzy feedback bass before grungy guitar is added into the fray. Gang vocals in the verses, a more technical sounding guitar between verses and a fast metal-esque riff to finish can all be found on next track ‘Fucked By Fate’.
Starting slowly and on a slightly scary note with hammered out drum beats and a deep intimidating bass before making way to guitar strums that give a danceable, funky feel to ‘Getting High with Lionel Ritchie’. This track is almost reggae in tone with a pretty relaxed chill out vibe, a huge difference to the chaos of the previous tracks. Half way through this longest track on the album though and the punkier sound returns with a chugging riff.
An overbeaten drum, the occasional cymbal sound, the slightly scuzzy guitar, the shouted vocals, ‘Nighthawks’ definitely sounds like late 90’s/early 00’s punk with a hardcore edge. ‘Jenny Parker’ though lyrically is like old school Blink-182 musically it sounds like old school Alkaline Trio with the dual vocals and the bigger drum sound. Fans of those sounds will probably really like these two tracks and there is some real talent shown here on the mid-way point of the album.
Gang vocals, pop punk guitar, quick drum beats and the basis of any respectable punk song some angry lyrics are all key elements of ‘Sorry We’re Late’, towards the middle the music calms and quietens before coming back up for the final chorus.
Cymbal crash and deeper looming guitar opens ‘Shortcut to Pandamonium’, vocally this is a track that is so all over the place it is confusing. Starting with whispered vocals in the first verse, there are more melodic sung vocals in the other verses, hair metal screams and ending on a vocal reminiscent of that used by System of a Down or Rammstein; with so much thrown into one song it doesn’t flow and it is quite distracting.
Drums with a metal edge start ‘Margin All’ before dirty guitar takes over becoming the main focus of the song, vocally it is slow, quiet and drawn out making it slightly menacing. This one is a decent heavier punk track with threatening riffs and a melodic middle eight with a steady beat before the song picks back up to end it.
Final track ‘Daily News Feed’ is a short fast paced end to proceedings, ending the album in many ways like they started it. Again it is not a really strong track and definitely not the best ending but coming full circle the band have added some sort of consistency to their sound.
In terms of debuts this is not brilliant. It is a good effort though and there are some good moments, some strong tracks and hints of something on here but most of this is just filler, a lot of the same sounds repeated over and over and it does get a little boring. They are a pretty decent punk band with a huge array of influences and they are clearly trying to put their own unique spin onto their brand of punk but they have not been fully successful with that here.