It’s been three years since the international juggernaut of Opposites, in which Biffy put their recently acquired chorus-writing abilities to great use and aimed for stadiums worldwide. Fresh from being covered by X-Factor winners, the band were everywhere during the early 2010s, so much so that they felt it best to announce they were taking a year out in 2015 in order to focus on their next album.
The album now has a name, Ellipsis, and is going to be ‘leaner and meaner’ than their latest efforts, according to vocalist Simon Neil, who recently spoke to NME. Wolves of Winter is the first track to emerge, and immediately fulfils that promise.
Chattering laughter introduces the track, while heavily manipulated feminine vocals intertwine with raw clashes of guitar in a juxtaposition of beauty and aggression. The track explodes into life, full of riotous guitar riffs and pummelling drum rhythms. Drawing inspiration from recent hip-hop records, which have successfully combined dirty sounds with clean vocals, Neil keeps his vocals sweet, whilst the band allow their instruments to be tortured into pandemonium.
Wonky breakdowns nestle within the rollicking rock and roll verses, harking back to the days long before this band would headline festivals, and merrily mixed time structures with abandon. This is not as experimental as those earlier efforts, though they’ve clearly ditched the stadium rock feel with violent fury, and managed to retain their trademark big singalong choruses whilst being progressively heavier.
The band themselves have described the new record as their reboot, and as the twinkling solos and emotional fanfare fade away, it could be described as more akin to a resurrection. Now a vastly experienced band, they’ve been able to successfully combine the hard-rock of their modest beginnings with the hard-learned pop hooks that they have developed throughout their career to create something epic in proportion.
Wolves of Winter is out now.
Ellipsis is out on the 8th July 2016.