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BIOGENESIS - Black Widow (Vinyl)

In 2018 BioGenesis released this killer 5-song EP on CD which many know contains newer songs mixed with reworked versions of older songs and includes the brilliant interpretation/cover of Deliverance’s “Flesh and Blood.” With the most stable line-up this band has enjoyed in nearly two decades, this hybrid metal 6-piece has been delivering the goods musically and lyrically. 2017’s A Decadence Divine was a grandiose collection of mostly original songs spanning the gap between the prog and the extreme forms of metal. Then, with only one change in personnel – Eli Closson taking over the drum throne from Majennica Nealeigh – they quickly turned around and crafted Black Widow, their most diverse and well-written/well-produced release to date.

My colleague Kevin Crothers has already gushed on about the EP earlier this year (link to his primo review here), so I won’t digress much, but there are a few things I can’t help but praise about the music. The new songs “Black Widow” and “Human Equilibrium” are fantastic examples of how more traditional metal can be melded to extreme metal with cinematic and prog elements implanted courtesy the piano/keys of the gifted Sam Nealeigh. Furthermore, the vocal diversity on display by Chaz Bond should earn him a gold medal – just amazing how the melody is balanced with the power and harshness/intensity. For those not aware, “Angel” was originally released in 2012 and “Anti Evolution” goes all the way back to the BioGenesis debut. As to “Flesh and Blood,” those keyboards work! Crazy, insane stuff and the rest of the band nails it!

Fast-forward to 2019. While the 5 track EP stands tall as is, those who really want to hear these songs in hi-fidelity can now enjoy a vinyl rendition with an even more brilliant new track called “Messiah.” Bill Bafford and company have reconfigured Black Widow for vinyl and in doing so have assembled perhaps the most impressive piece in the 12-album Roxx Records Underground Series we have seen and heard to date. Of course, this seems only fitting, as #12 is the final release in the series. And, if that is not enough, the promo CD that accompanies the record has yet another brilliant cover – this time Mortification’s classic “Symbiosis” gets the BioGenesis treatment, and this track smokes! But “Messiah” is truly an epic tune at 8:36 in duration. It is an 8-part song chronicling the events of Christ’s birth from the perspective of Herod, Joseph and the people. This contrasts with Bloodgood’s musical depiction of the latter portion of Christ’s life with their iconic “Crucify/The Messiah” tandem. It defies description, but fans of progressive metal and theatrical rock should rejoice in this song. I can’t think of a better song to herald the Christmas season!

This limited-edition vinyl is hand numbered (150 units total) and uses the same format as the others in the series, but this one is packaged in a red outer poly bag and the record itself is bright crimson red (pictured). A black paper inner sleeve is included, but it’s not poly lined. The fold-over cover sleeve is a thing of beauty – the album cover itself a piece of frameable art.

So how does it sound? Folks, metal doesn’t sound any better than this – the EQ is balanced perfectly, there is no distortion at high volume and Chaz Bond’s vocals are incinerating. You might think vinyl is always about getting more bass out of a system, and it does do that, but when you can hear the full spectrum of frequencies it helps the vocals as well – really almost changes the quality of the vocals in a manner that is quite distinguishable from what you hear through digital sources.

If you want my advice as a music critic, you can’t go wrong here – this is a grade A+. If you want my advice as a physician, you can’t go wrong here – this is medicinal head-banging bliss for the mind and soul. But you had better get your injection soon as I predict these will disappear in the time it takes for Doug Van Pelt to count the remaining hairs on his head!

Track Listing:

Side A

1. Black Widow (7:54)

2. Human Equilibrium (5:30)

3. Angel (7:11)

Side B

4. Flesh And Blood (7:24)

5. Anti-Evolution (5:19)

6. Messiah (8:36)

*7. Symbiosis (Exclusive promo CD only) (7:32)

*CD has all 7 tracks

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