This summer, Big Business took to the road for a sprawling U.S. tour with labelmates Torche and Helms Alee, comprising a package deal that seems so intuitively perfect, it’s a surprise this lineup hasn’t teamed up for such a sojourn before. All three bands are pretty compact (lineups have changed considerably, but at the moment all three are trios) and play their own unique and innovative take on sludge metal. And as a practical matter of business, they all have associations with Hydra Head. Yet their differences are considerable enough to make the combination more dynamic. While Torche is a Floridian band whose skill with hooks makes them almost perfect for rock radio, and while Helms Alee is a trio of Seattleites that blend post-hardcore abstraction with their meaty riffs, Big Business represents Los Angeles with a meaty and epic take on Melvins-style churn and bellow, making them the heaviest of the three, if only by a small margin.
After a series of fist-pumping full-lengths, Big Business’ latest offering is Quadruple Single, an EP that lives up to its promise by offering four different tracks that each bear their own distinct shades of bruise-tinted black, blue, brown and grey. First track “Always Never Know When to Quit” kicks off this compact slam party with noisy shrieks and low-end aplenty. The epic “Ice-Cold War” is the longest and most expansive of the four, blending exotic riffs with massively dense sludge throb. “California Square Dance” is a certifiable rock anthem, burly and beastly, but as catchy as metal songs come and custom-built for a good, drunken shout-along. And the EP’s final track, “Guns,” slowly introduces a crunchy, one-chord molasses riff that gives way to a manic group chant of “Guns are better than everything else!” It closes the record on a simultaneously unsettling and hilarious note, and leaves open the possibility for some action movie licensing, so blockbuster directors out there better take note.
Big Business has a pretty strong track record of destroying shit with low-tuned guitars and sheer volume, and Quadruple Single distills that vicious power into their strongest qualities, from noisy throwdown to epic pummeler, rock anthem and menacing dirge. Metal has always been a singles genre to a certain degree (just check the Big Four for evidence of that), but the awesome display of ass kicking tunes on Quadruple Single merely proves that it remains so today.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.