Review: Mr. Bison ‘Echoes From The Universe’

At one time I considered myself to be Norse Pagan, and though I don’t follow that path anymore, I still have an affinity for Norse Mythology and the lessons contained within their stories. So, when I discovered that the upcoming Mr. Bison album, Echoes Of The Universe, was based upon The Norns, I was more than intrigued, I was downright ecstatic with anticipation. Let’s jump into things with a brief description of The Norns, and why they were so important to Viking Culture.

Mr. Bison 'Echoes From The Universe' Artwork
Mr. Bison ‘Echoes From The Universe’ Artwork

The Norns are three sisters named Urd, Verdandi, and Skuld. They lived underneath Yggdrasil, the world tree, where they work to, according to the albums press statement, ‘weave the threads of universal destiny on a tapestry, in which all existence, in a continuous mix of past, present and future, intersect and influence each other, thereby generating a kaleidoscopic vortex of infinite and unpredictable possibilities’. In other words, they create the fate of each person before birth, and their choices can either be of benefit to that person, or a hindrance that has the power to negatively impact their lives. The Norns hold the keys to our destiny, and they turn them at will.

As intriguing as that description may be, it pales in comparison to the music that Mr. Bison recorded for this album. Mixing progressive rock, heavy psych, stoner and psychedelic rock, the band brings us music that takes us on a journey filled with riffs, exceptional vocals and a keen knack for storytelling. It’s also worthy to note that the people that these songs are about are never mentioned by name, leaving the listener to really dig in in order to glean their true meanings. However, the band hooked me up with the info, and for the tracks that we discuss, I will be naming them for you.

Echoes Of The Universe begins with The Child Of The Night Sky, a tale of the great wolf Fenrir, son of the trickster God named Loki and a giantess named Angrboða. Fenrir is the bringer of the end of the world, also known as Ragnarok, killer of Odin, and eater of the sun. This song details how the Gods betrayed and trapped Fenrir in order to change their destiny, but The Norns had already written out the fates of the Gods. The music on this treads common ground with progressive bands like Yes and Rush, mostly Yes though. The vocals of Matteo Sciocchetto seem to float perfectly over the music, and the stoner based riffs fit in with style and precision.

Mixing progressive rock, heavy psych, stoner and psychedelic rock, the band brings us music that takes us on a journey filled with riffs…

Dead In The Eye is Odin’s talk with The Norns, in which they discussed his vision of Ragnarok. I would never have gotten that from the lyrics, as they come across as quite cryptic, but from what I can tell, the lyrics are indeed a back and forth conversation. The music and performances are where the song really shines though, as Mr. Bison are skilled players, weaving a tapestry of sounds that go from mellow to aggressive and back again. The vocals are outstanding, but if you know this band at all, then you knew that this would be the case.

Another standout is The Veil, a song about trying to escape the destiny written out before your birth, and in my humble opinion, this is the best of the seven songs. The main riff is a bit hypnotic, there’s an element to it I found myself focusing on, losing the outside world to venture into the world that Mr. Bison is in, and it enhanced my listening experience. Literally everything about this song is exceptional, the riffs, the melody, the progressive tendencies, it’s all absolutely fantastic.

There are four other songs on this album, but I’ll leave them for you to dissect on your own because part of the experience of this album is figuring out the meanings to the lyrics. However, I will assure you that these songs are incredibly strong, and they all exemplify the best songwriting that this band has had to date. Echoes Of The Universe will be out on February 16th via Heavy Psych Sounds.

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Tom Hanno