Sanctuary Records, 2001


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been a long time since I listened to Biohazard - so long, in fact, that I still remember getting their self-titled release when I was in radio, listening to it once, and not particularly liking it. I never really got into the New York hardcore scene - not because I didn't like it or the music, but I just never developed an interest in it - an exception made for the group Helmet. (In retrospect, that's kind of a strange admission to make, especially seeing some of the musical genres I listen to now for fun.)

Uncivilization, the latest disc from vocalist/bassist Evan Seinfeld and company, could well change my mind about the hardcore scene. An interesting combination of anger, melody and even a little rap thrown in for spice, Biohazard dare to suggest that groups like Limp Bizkit didn't create their musical style; rather, they liberally borrowed from the pioneers.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In a sense, you can understand where a lot of the anger the band - Seinfeld, vocalist/guitarist Billy Graziadei, lead guitarist Leo Curley and drummer Danny Schuler - have, watching all these other bands hit the big-time while Biohazard has been kept out of reach of the brass ring. Uncivilization shatters those restraints, and demands that this band be taken for real, albeit on their own terms. With tracks like "Get Away," "Domination," "Trap" and "Plastic," it's hard to argue. (Interesting, though, to note that Slipknot - one of the bands who had to have learned some of their stuff from Biohazard - makes a guest appearance on "Domination".)

The disc, though, is not the easiest to approach on the first try. It's not the heaviness of the songs or the seething cauldron of anger that is these four musicians. Instead, it's the feel that many of the early songs aren't the most approachable for the listener. (It would be hard to call any track listener-friendly on this disc, but the strange staccato rhythm pattern that opens "Uncivilization" takes some time to get used to.) Once you've accustomed yourself to what Biohazard is trying to accomplish, though, it's like the floodgates are opened.

Sometimes, though, Uncivilization has the feeling of being a tad crowded - not totally surprising, seeing the number of guest shots on this disc. From rapper Sen Dog of Cypress Hill fame (on "Last Man Standing") to Pantera screamer Phil Anselmo (on "H.F.F.K." - not the track to play at full volume in the office), and over a half-dozen others sandwiched in between, it occasionally feels like Biohazard is running the risk of losing control of their own project. Fortunately, though, they're able to reel things in with enough time.

Biohazard have been riding the fringes of the hardcore/hard rock world for some time now, and with Uncivilization they declare they're tired of waiting for their turn at the big musical dance. This disc proves their time in the spotlight is well-deserved.

Rating: B

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sanctuary Records, and is used for informational purposes only.