Billy Bio – the new name for Biohazard/Powerflo guitarist/vocalist/somgwriter Billy Graziadei – has released a new album, Feed the Fire, and very nice it is too.
Of course, as befits a Graziadei project, the ghost of Biohazard looms large; however, that’s absolutely not a handicap here. What Feed the Fire sounds like, if anything, is a sort of super-quintessential Biohazard album. Or, possibly, the sort of album that Biohazard might have made back in the day had the band not been a democracy but rather a benevolent dictatorship run by Billy.
So, you get lots of metallic guitar overkill, plenty of grinding hardcore beatdowns and mosh parts, and the soupcon of hard-edged rap that always kept the band at the front of the pack in the early nineties. Rise and Stay, for instance, is a fiery piece of classic NYHC singalong fun; elsewhere penultimate track Enemy is a quite superb bit of melodic punk replete with huge gang vocals and a nice little solo that reminded me of Bad Religion/Circle Jerks man Greg Hetson. Not that I really know my punk guitar onions.
Opening track Freedom’s Never Free is classic NYHC again, fusing holy of holies Agnostic Front and Sick of it All to Billy’s own tried and trusted Bioleitmotifs; it’s old news, in real terms, of course. But the sheer levels of enjoyment and sincerity at which Graziadei operates renders criticism essentially meaningless. You either get this stuff and its ethos or you don’t. And if you do, you’ll be hard pressed to hear anything better by anyone in the field, old or young, this year. And I bet that, as the final chords of crazy final doom-metal-punk-hardcore anthem disaffected world fade into the ether, you’ll want to get up and press play on the whole thing again. Undiluted brilliance. Thanks Billy!
Feed the Fire will be released by AFM on November 30th.