Release Date: Jul 8, 2016
Record label: Joyful Noise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Intermittently taking their place as one half of the Melvins, Jared Warren and Coady Willis have been shovelling out weighty slabs of melodic uproar under the Big Business banner for over 10 years now, and are still one of the most thrilling bands in the rock/metal sphere. Their latest, Command Your Weather, is a characteristically taut blend of meat and melody, driven by thick, growling bass and a near-constant barrage of heavy drum fire, showing off their love of vocal harmonies and progressive sounds. Tentative intro track Last Legs features percussive vibes playing the role of wind chimes – soon bulldozed aside by the arrival of second track Regulars.
If this is the first time you've encountered Big Business, you're in for a treat. They're about the riffs, above all: songs rumble mightily atop ominous furious flurries of drums as hyper-fuzzed bass conjuring the sound of a thousand guitars. The tunes are pretty great too, but you'll be under no illusion that they're anything other than a rock band, and an explosive one at that.
The fifth studio long-player from the Seattle-based duo, Command Your Weather emits a masterful blast of minimalist, mostly upbeat anthemic post-metal that lays to rest any notion that Big Business is in the sludge trade. Bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis, both of whom moonlight as the rhythm section for the Melvins, have concocted a truly majestic bit of sonic alchemy that pairs the aural density of early Black Sabbath with melody-rich, Misfits-inspired horror punk and fjord-melting Viking metal. Opening with what sounds like a motorboat steering through a maze of burning plane wreckage, Command Your Weather offers up some pretty impressive set pieces, including a pair of seven-minute epics, "Popular Demand" and "Horses," that sound like the work of a much larger operation, due in no small part to Warren's octave-pedal-generated Wall of Sound.
Save some late-career marketing miracle, the loud-and-proud duo Big Business will forever be billed as a metal band, bound to inherently intractable tags such as sludge, doom, or stoner. In many respects, drummer Coady Willis and guitarist Jared Warren have asked for it: They issued their earliest records on the boundary-testing metal bastion Hydra Head. Not long after becoming Big Business, Willis and Warren also became active members of the Melvins, an outlandish metal institution with decades of international influence and a die-hard cult of converts.
For the stoner metal scene, it’s been a long, slow burn. Ever since Sabbath, there have always been bands willing to inhale, turn up, and slow down. But now there is an entire musical subculture devoted to the Way of the Weedian. A few factors have led to this renaissance: decriminalized marijuana laws, increased exposure and access to the music, the chaos of modern society, and the need to escape it all through the timeless pastime of getting baked and listening to records.
It’s been 13 years since bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis founded Big Business, a crushing sludge-pop venture built on the cornerstones of simplicity, heaviness, and blackened hooks—and white lies. Don’t let their frequent power-duo categorization fool you; while the Seattleites employ the same top-heavy production and percussive meltdowns as their paired-up peers (Death From Above 1979, Lightning Bolt, Japanther), they’ve always depended on extra personnel to round out their studio recordings and legendarily rowdy concerts with additional riffs, keys, and backing vocals. That all changed after Big Business’ last record, 2013’s Battlefields Forever.
Big Business – AKA Jarred Warren and Coady Willis – have spent more than a decade carving out (or hacking wildly at) a niche in the alt-metal scene, from touring with Tool to making up the numbers in The Melvins back in 2006. Following 2014’s acclaimed but commercially overlooked Battlefields Forever comes an album that refines the band’s ribald rock into an obelisk of muscular sound and fury. Command Your Weather is a world where metal is metal and intelligible vocals are to the music what armbands are to a dip in the Styx.