Big Business 'Command Your Weather' By Creating A Musical Typhoon
You may have to look in depths as low as their bass tones to find them, but Seattle’s Big Business is a reward for your searching as one of the most perplexing yet thrilling bands in metal of the past 11 years. And while their bass-led sonic assaults have mellowed out considerably since 2005’s fierce performance on Head for the Shallow, their sonic expansion since has always made for interesting listening.
Fifth record ‘Command Your Weather’ sees the duo continue to push their songwriting to new heights, and achieving further emotional dexterity with their instrumentation, having long since proven that leading your music with four strings can help produce lots and lots of noise. These songs leave listeners delighted, confused and intimidated. All while producing lots and lots of noise.
There’s a schizophrenic element to the album’s opening, with intro track ‘Last Legs’ slowly dragging listeners into a muggy atmosphere with a Jammes Luckett-esque horror score, complete with an omniscient violin trill which suddenly catapults listeners into opener ‘Regulars’, a vibrant riffola that has a similar sunny outlook to surf music. The discrepancy of the two pieces together hits you so hard, it feels like having such an opener was a cheeky joke.
But even if the weather is commanded as such to have a sunny outlook, it’s the feeling of tension and unease that really characterises this album. Tracks like ‘Father’s Day’ and the distortion-led apocalypse that is ‘Popular Demand’ revolve around a mass buildup as repetitive 4-4 groove patterns from Warren seem to ascend in notes, while Willis’ drumming becomes faster and more improvised. The length of the buildup almost makes listeners feel like their anticipation is wasted, until the end of the tracks sees the band hit full ignition.
And when your skull isn’t being smashed in, the band uses this album to put fear and paranoia into you, as seen on ‘Send Help’, a track led only by synthesizers and possibly xylophone, the creeping sound combined with Warren’s instructive lyrics of “Avoid the vipers, how can you tell? They’re the ones with the real mean stare” and “You don’t have to get bigger, but you have to get out of this space” feel truly paranoid, especially if you listen to the song in a crowded area.
But it fully encapsulates the spirit of ‘Command Your Weather.’ It doesn’t feel pleasant or uplifting, but it keeps you hooked on it’s tension and doesn’t let you off the ride until the pummelling climax of ‘Horses.’ And the performances of Warren and Willis is gripping enough without the hell fire surrounding them, particularly Warren’s stretched out vocal performance, acting as an uncompromising presence. This record retains Big Business’ status as underground heroes, but my god, is it worth the journey to find them.