There’s a timeless quality to hardcore punk that has that same raw energy and abrasive tonality as some of the earliest in the genre, and this is something that Omaha’s BIB has been able to deliver since 2015. Over the course of several EP’s and 2020’s Delux full-length, they’ve offered up aggressive riffs and vocals that seem made for moshing while still managing to shake things up from one release to the next. Since Delux things have been a bit quiet on the release front besides a live recording, but BIB has re-emerged this year with the Biblical EP. Coming in at five songs and ten minutes in length, here the group focuses on delivering as much force as possible through scorching riffs and expanded production values. It may run together at some points, but Biblical still touches upon the type of intensity that makes hardcore punk so appealing.
BIB’s past efforts didn’t sound bad, but there’s something to be said for the type of boost that someone like Arthur Rizk can make to a band when behind the boards. Rizk has made the group sound huge, as the guitar, bass, and drums all sound weaponized to deliver as much force as possible and there’s a fullness to the sound that was missing before. Yet even though everything sounds bigger, there’s still that rawness and abrasive edge to the tonality and this works to the band’s advantage. BIB has gone for a bit of a no-frills approach here, favoring mid-tempo stomps and faster attacks, but there is still some subtle variation at work throughout Biblical. This often comes in the form of slightly melodic moments, like the lingering closing riff on “Two-Faced Planet” or the brooding hints of post punk that “Bitter Mind” showcases. Admittedly the other three tracks do run together a bit as they have some similar tempo changes and riffs but taken as a whole Biblical gives listeners plenty of reasons to hit the repeat button.
Vocalist Nathan Ma adds to the aggression level considerably, as he has one of those screams/yells that seems to tower above the recording. There’s a little bit of reverb at work, which makes each word seem to bounce off your speakers and boomerang back to hit you in the face, and for me that adds to the appeal. It’s great to hear the vocals sounding just as weaponized as the instrumentals, and each verse is spaced out to ensure that the intensity remains at its maximum level the entire way through. One of the more surprising elements Biblical has to offer comes on “Bitter Mind”, where the vocals suddenly transition over to a cleaner and gruffer singing pitch that sounds very close to Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman. This fits well with BIB’s sound, and it injects just a bit of extra variety to the material.
BIB doesn’t shake up the hardcore punk formula significantly, but they deliver a coordinated and tight attack that still has a few unexpected elements. They sound bigger and more in your face than ever before, and while a few moments do run together the short length still makes this EP an easy one to binge. Even after all this time and hundreds and hundreds of bands, when hardcore is done well like this it has my attention. It will be interesting to see where BIB goes on another full length and if some of these additional genre flourishes sneak in or if they play it straight, but either way I’ll be looking forward to hearing what they do. Biblical is available from Quality Control HQ.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg