Billy Boy In Poison


Written by: AP on 30/12/2013 23:37:36

Over the course of their seven-year career, Copenhagen based Billy Boy in Poison have traversed from simplistic metalcore (the "Distilled Life" & "Dismissing Past Events" EPs) through deathcore ("Perdition" EP) to modern death metal, coming of age at last on this long due debut album "Watchers". Given it has been two years in the making, the expectations are naturally high; the band have, after all, had plenty of time to iron out the creases.

The album marks the first recorded material to feature Steven Borgwardt - the replacement to former vocalist Bjørn Hjorhöy, who exited the band in 2011 to focus on his family - and the difference is vast. Borgwardt employs a more brutal growling style compared to the guttural, yet curiously clean grunting of Hjorhöy, and is, with no offence intended toward the latter, a much better fit to BBiP's transformation into a full blown death metal band. I always did feel Hjorhöy would have been better suited to helm a sludge metal band, where his sharp and poignant approach would have been in perfect harmony with the fuzz and rumble of the music. But I digress.

When juxtaposed with the band's earlier output, "Watchers" might as well be the work of another band altogether, such is the magnitude of the difference between it and its predecessors. On "Watchers", the quintet reignite the embers of "Perdition", fanning them into blazing death metal of the kind that no longer simply exposes potential, but also cashes that potential in, in exchange for songs the international metal community can no longer overlook. "Decadent God" may have been available for streaming for the better part of a year, but its fine balance between gruelling brutality and melodic respite sounds no less striking now. Its initial Misery Index-inspired mayhem transforms midway, through a clean interlude, into metalcore not too dissimilar from that purveyed by their countrymen in Scarred by Beauty, underlining the aspect to BBiP which has always struck a chord with me: namely their willingness to rebel against genre elitism.

Indeed, "Watchers" first and foremost reaps rewards for its diversity, as across the 9 tracks BBiP traverse through a wide variety of stylistic influences, "A Shadow of My Past" divulging both a brooding indulgence on the black metal of our northern neighbours, and an earth rocking breakdown; "The Last Shreds of Humanity" opening with an evocative string section, punching through with a fashionable djent riff, and eventually flashing resonant bits reminiscent of Misery Signals; and "Mask of Insecurity" bleeding in those Misery Signals inspirations to deliver a masterclass in fusing atmospheric metalcore and death metal à la the band's brethren in By the Patient. Yes, BBiP aren't the least bit concerned with silly truism, and least of all the notion that daring to use melody and conventional pattern as an advantage toward furthering the memorability of a song is some great blasphemy.

I consider myself a connoisseur of metal, no matter its degree of extremity or adherence to some small-minded nerd's ideal. And "Watchers" is exactly the sort of album the Danish metal scene, too often stuck in narrow preconceptions of what the genre should sound like, requires in order to firm up its growing presence on the global metal map. There's plenty of extremity on it in the likes of "Capture It All", the monolithic "Corrupted Into Slaves" and the already mentioned "Decadent God" to satisfy those to whom metalcore or melodic death metal are foul things, and indeed virtually every song is driven by a groovy death metal riff; but what sets it apart is the refusal to be just extreme, or just death metal. This positive outlook, this burning passion for metal as one entity; lifts Billy Boy in Poison into the Danish metal elite.


Download: Decadent God, A Shadow of My Past, Mask of Insecurity, Corrupted Into Slaves
For the fans of: By the Patient, Misery Index, Misery Signals, Scarred by Beauty
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Release date 09.12.2013
Mighty Music

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