Travel Writing by Cory Hanson

Writing Music: Biohazard

This is part of an ongoing series discovering and reviewing heavy metal bands in the order in which they appear in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by Daniel Bukszpan. Check out the rest of the series and stay tuned for new reviews each week. Until I finish this book, stay heavy, my friends.

Maybe the reason the Resident Evil series of video games is so named in North America (it shared a name with this hardcore hip-hopvy metal band in its home country of Japan), Biohazard brings the rage of rap metal and the raw sound of the early 90s without the Limp Bizkit-y nonsense of immature threats and wannabe gangsta persona. Like a very angry (and kinda white) Cypress Hill — although Bukszpan in the Encyclopedia refers to these revolutionary rap-rockers as “the Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, and Johnny Paycheck of the genre.” Take this job and shove it, baby!

The band

The raw rage comes through in “Judgement Night,” one of the band’s biggest hits from the movie soundtrack of the same name. (This music is NSFW from here on out, it must be said.)

The double bass drum makes its first appearance (in the Spotify most-played list, anyway…) here in “Punishment.” The hip-hop takes a backseat as the metal comes to the forefront, but it falls a bit flat compared to the raw nerve that was “Judgement Night” — with an end result something like a slowed-down Slayer track.

[To hear more from the band that stuck a genre-defining zombie game in a mansion forever, while supporting this project at the same time, take a look at Biohazard’s music (or shop anything else) on Amazon here.]

The band’s 2006 self-titled offering has elements of thrash metal peeking up from below, making “Howard Beach” sound more like a less-slowed-down Slayer track.

The bottom line

This is another tricky one; most fans of rap-metal I’ve met wouldn’t appreciate the power of Biohazard’s early work, preferring the Insane Clown Posse and that Durst guy. Then again, my thrashier friends wouldn’t care for the (relatively) glacial pace of the average Biohazard track. Chances are, if you’re a fan of any genre of music that ends in -core (grindcore, rapcore, Marine Corps), you’ll be a fan of Biohazard.

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