If you’re wondering about their name, Biipiigwan are not a Jamaican dancehall act but an Ontarian metal band who proudly fly their Anishinaabe colours through their music, artwork and lyrics. About 50,000 Anishinaabeg retain their language in Canada, and we get to hear it on a couple of tracks here. Gosh, they sound angry.
For white people like myself to listen to really angry music written by indigenous people we need more than a few grains of salt and in a field –extreme metal- where everyone’s always dead serious, it was relieving and inspiring to find that Biipiigwan present themselves with a pinch of self-effacing humility. Thrash, sludge and grindcore elements influence an epic sound that prioritizes girth over complexity. In addition to providing bowel-emptying riff brutality (“Shkweyaang”) and pulverizing blast beats (“Descamisados”), Biipiigwan challenge us to think more about history, ancestors, land and freedom:
“I’ve cut my fucking throat to bleed out on sacred ground / And everything, all I feel is shame / We’ve been made to believe that these are our hands, our knives, our actions / So we take responsibility for killing ourselves, dying, murdering in god’s eyes.”
Title: Something for Everyone, Nothing for Anyone
Label: Sludge Hummer Imprint
Bandmark Rating: 8 on 10
Reviewed by: Steve Lalla