"Bigwig is still around?" That was a question a healthy number of casual fans asked when news on the band's upcoming record started to surface. The band last left us with the fantastic Invitation to Tragedy way back in 2001. Reclamation is the band's third full-length and second for Fearless. The first being 1997's Unmerry Melodies with their second album, Stay Asleep being released on Kung-Fu Records in 2000. Despite being one of the few Fearless Records bands still going at it from the label's early days, the label has shown little to no interest in promoting Bigwig AT ALL. There has been zero promotion, save for small advertisements on one or two websites. Any and all promotion has been done by the band themselves via their Purevolume webpage. Despite that working against them, Bigwig has put out a record that shows they have not lost their edge, nor are they planning to leave us anytime soon. Bigwig sounds more important than ever on Reclamation.
One of the most well known facts about Bigwig is that they've never really had what you might call a "definitive lineup," aside from singer/guitarist Tom Petta. The band has consistently lost players, with at least one member of the ranks changing by each record. The band has progressed with each record, with a fairly consistent sound, thanks to Tom Petta being the band's main songwriter.
Reclamation's production is one of the only chinks in the armor of this record. The main point of contention has to be the drums. The drumming here is incredibly solid, and keeps a steady pace amidst the chaos going on around it. Unfortunately, the drum sound is terribly uneven. The snare drum is placed far too high in the mix amongst the rest of the record. It seems like many punk bands place the snare just a tad bit higher, although the reasoning for that baffles me. Petta's vocals are just right, although they could stand to be just a hair louder. Also, the backup vocals could use some volume adjustment, as, at times they seem drowned out. This is a shame because I've always been a very big fan of the way the band accents songs with well placed backups.
Bigwig has always been a band with an ear for aggressive music. Despite being fairly melodic, the band is known to break out a pissed off song here and there. I mean, they covered Slayer for Satan's sake! Reclamation definitely has an aggressive, almost thrash influenced sound to it. It definitely is the band's darkest record to date, although amongst the thrash influence, the band still makes room for trademark Bigwig melodies. Bigwig takes a cue from Spinal Tap here, and it shows, with the band flexing their guitar muscles with solos wherever possible.
Reclamation is the sound of a band moving forward. It's a fuck you to all of the bands that are in it for their 15 minutes, not the long haul. It's dark, it's aggressive, it's catchy, it's cynical, it's Bigwig. Take it or leave it.
7.5 / 10
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