Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bölzer - Soma

Written by Kevin Page.

Artwork by Alexander L. Brown

I still remember my introduction to Bölzer. End of April 2013, I was listening to some band on Soundcloud (don't even remember 'who' at this point) and suddenly (by random) something caught my attention. It was this vicious yet hypnotic death metal with a sound all their own. 'Bölzer' it says at the top of my screen, never heard of them, must be a new band. Little did I know that within a few months short time they would take the underground by storm.

Bölzer at MDF 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

Hailing from Switzerland, those living in Europe have much better chance of seeing the band perform live than we do over on this side of the pond. But due to such an overwhelming reaction to their initial EP, Bölzer have played on this side of the world at Noctis Fest (Canada, September 2013) and Maryland Deathfest (U.S.A. 2014). Heck, they were even good enough to play TWICE at MDF. Mighty impressive for a band that had 6 recorded songs to their name. And if you have been living under a rock, this band is a two piece. And yes they perform live as a two piece and are able to flawlessly recreate their recorded sound.

So now that you are up to speed let's talk about the new EP, titled Soma. This is the follow up to last years brilliant EP Aura, and contains 2 songs totaling 18 minutes. According to the band, this features two "odes to the goddess Luna" and the "tonal and conceptual qualities will contrast the themes of the spiritual birth and phallic solar worship offered on Aura".

Bölzer at MDF 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

Right from the get go the main riff carves it's way into your brain. It's instantly recognizable as Bölzer and stylistically the same as before. The middle section features spoken words that are placed just far enough in the background that you can't really figure out what's being said, which just adds to the mysterious nature of the song. Then another infectious galloping riff carries the remainder of the song until they venture back to the main theme to close it out. Another winner in their catalog.
Labyrinthian Graves
Now Bölzer is no stranger to epic length numbers. "The Great Unifier" off their last EP clocked in at over 10 minutes. This beauty clocks in at over 12. There's no shortage of hooks and moments that just send a chill down your spine. This is a band that simply gets it. Melodic without being pussified, memorable without being repetitive and nothing that artificially pads the length of the song. This is meat all the way through until the last 3 minutes, which serve as an atmospheric outro, but it works so beautifully. It's a perfectly paced roller coaster, so having the proper ending simply magnifies everything that comes before it.

Bölzer at MDF 2014. Photo by Metal Chris

In general, everyone (myself included) goes apeshit crazy over "the riffs", but the drumming doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves. It's frenzied and controlled, tribal and precise. If this was your standard death metal drumming, the riffs would have far less impact. The guitar and drums joined together accentuate one another in a blissful harmony. You are also probably wondering, is this better than the previous EP? I'd say no, simply because there's nothing like your first experience with a band (especially this one). But it has met the lofty expectations they have set in such a short amount of time. If you haven't jumped on the Bölzer train yet, you better as this thing shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

"Labyrinthian Graves" plus the rest of their first set at MDF 2014.

Tagged with 2014, black metal, Bölzer, death metal, Invictus Productions, Kevin Page, Metal Chris
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