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Bölzer | ‘Soma’


Now this is really something. It’s what might, with the fullness of time, be seen to be the moment a band truly came into their own.

Bolzer have already won appreciation for their individual and esoteric bludgeon.

Their real smarts though are in the fact that they’ve managed to steep themselves in underground mysticism while making crushing music that is, in fact, eminently listenable and accessible.

This new, two track EP on Invictus slams their previous work, which is really something given the strength of last year’s ‘Aura’. As with Invictus’ other canny signing, Tribulation, this is a release that captures a band at a great and indeed fascinating moment in their career.

Lead track ‘Steppes’ has the familiar Bolzer sound, of middle eastern toned, octaved riff work, sliding up and down the fret board. The tone is beautifully analogue, with the guitars totally clear and not too distorted – similarly the drums are real and full. There is a brilliant warmth and hum in it all.

The main riff, punctuated and straightforward gives way to a fast paced explosion that you just sense brimming the whole time. When it does, it really delivers.

OK, so this is a track that’s very much out of Bolzer’s playbook, right down to those eastern sounding riffs. I had to double check that ‘Steppes’ hadn’t appeared on a previous release, given how familiar it sounds. That hardly takes away from it though. It’s a great track.

Much better and more involved however is the thirteen minute ‘Labyrinthian Graves’, which takes what they’re doing to a new level altogether.

It’s a packed selection of riffs and movements, ranging from fast to mid paced and absolutely absorbing. It has those classic Immolation style long wailing bends on the low strings, married to a vaguely Deathspell Omega vibe harking from that band’s earlier years.

There’s a ton of stuff going on in it that’s engrossing and engaging, and just dripping with atmosphere. It’s added to by the bellows and proclamations form our frontman who lends emphatic personality to the whole thing.

The keybpard atmos section that rounds it all out is fantastic as well.

A wonderful black swirl of sound straight from the depths of the dark, but conjured by a band with the wit to make a memorable set of songs. One can only look forward to what they do next, and it’s clear they’re a band to keep a very close eye on – for the long haul.

4.4 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 27/07/14


6 Comments
  1. I think Steppes is a cool song. Probably the most direct and pounding thing they have done so far. Primitive almost, but still retaining their character. The other tune I have only listened to once so I’ll wait till I pick it up and give it a proper few listens before commenting. Sounded more ethereal than Steppes on first listen, though.

  2. open face sugery Says:

    Labyrinthian Graves is amazing Andy. Prob the better of the two and up there with the best that they’ve done so far.

  3. Eoin McLove Says:

    Listening again now. Much more to get the head around on that one. No bad thing at all.

  4. pentagrimes Says:

    yeah, the second track is definitely the best thing they’ve done. Superb track.

  5. Absolutely unreal band live and on record. The aura Ep is one of my favourite releases in a good while. Haven’t listened to the entirety of soma, just the first track. As good as steppes is, for me I think that it may be the first dent in the suit of armour so to speak. The chord progressions are crazy similar to what they’ve done already, to the point you could mix and match riffs from that with the older tracks and they wouldn’t sound out of place. That being said its still a great song, the first riff is just so powerful sounding, I just really hope the rest of soma varies up the formula a bit or else I fear I may get bored.
    But then again, both the review and you lads have all said the other tune is the best they’ve done so I’ll make up my mind when I get my mitts on a copy!

  6. Caomhaoin Says:

    That is absolutely class.

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