Big Business

Pub date May 26, 2009
WriterL.C. Mason
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW Here’s a page right out of any rabid metalhead’s book of wildest, mind-blowingest dreams: What if the Norse gods Thor, Odin, and Tyr descended from the stormy heavens and formed a power trio? What would it sound like? What earthly buildings would crumble to the ground? What souls would be raised from their shadowy graves? What chaos would ensue?

To answer that first question: what if? What’s more metal than thunder, lightning, magic, and Valhalla? Those dudes invented it. They started their band approximately 1,300 years ago, before you or guitars existed. Second, they would sound like Los Angeles bone-crushers Big Business, whose giant leaden riffs, primordial Cro-Magnon rhythms, and thunderous hollow vocals pretty much sound like a band Thor might have dreamt up after an all-nighter spent smiting Viking tribes with lightning bolts and joyriding in his goat-drawn chariot with a ravishing blonde goddess.

The guys in Big Business, cut from the same pitch-black cloth as any fearsome Nordic god, are fast approaching their own place in the pantheon of mortal metal royalty. Their sludgy, doom-soaked sound is forged by ex-Murder City Devils drummer Coady Willis and bassist Jared Warren, formerly of Karp. And if their musical resumes weren’t already steeped in metal street cred, Willis and Warren joined the Melvins to record (A) Senile Animal (Ipecac, 2006) and Nude with Boots (Ipecac, 2008). The Biz added guitarist Toshi Kasai to its lineup in 2007, just after its sophomore album Here Come the Waterworks (Hydra Head) won it a hailstorm of critical success and a spot touring with Tool.

Now Big Business’s third album has arrived. While retaining the group’s visceral low-end attack, Mind the Drift (Hydra Head) adds more of Kasai’s quick-fire guitar work to the murk — it gives the album an atmospheric discord that swings like a wrecking ball. The Biz gets almost prog-metal when it adds vocal harmonies (wait, now they sing, too?!) and an organ solo to the dirge of "Ayes Have It." Bottom of the Hill, look out. Will King Buzzo join them on stage? Whatever happens, Big Business won’t be taking prisoners.

BIG BUSINESS With Tweak Bird. Wed/27, 10 p.m., $12. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St, SF (415) 621-4455