Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Boss Keloid - "Herb Your Enthusiasm" (Album Review)

By: Phil Weller
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/04/2016
Label: Black Bow Records



“Herb Your Enthusiasm” is a powerfully elegant dirge. It’s masterfully produced with guitar tones that have their own suffocating gravitational pull, a comatose rhythm section that rumbles like the uneasy shifting of tectonic plates and Alex Hurst’s air raid siren howls all coming together to sound simply imperious.  There’s an elevation to it, an otherworldliness and a freshness that wrestles with the aesthetics of the influences that shape their wide open sound that reeks of individualism. And it is upon that identity that they are forging their way to becoming something far greater than just another sludge band. Stand up. Pay attention. Boss Keloid are the pinnacle of the sludge movement right now.

“Herb Your Enthusiasm” CD//DD track listing:
1). Lung Mountain
2). Haarlem Struggle
3). Escapegoat
4). Cone
5). Axis of Green
6). Highatus
7). Lung Valley
8). Elegant Odyssey
9). Chabal
10). Hot Priest

The Review:  
As far as album openers go, “Lung Mountain is monolithically crushing. With ravaged fuzz tones bastardising and embellishing an assault of riffs which can and will choke you in an instant. Alongside Eastern tonalities which help flavour their cacophonous smog, the Wigan troupe’s eagerly anticipated snew album doesn’t just live up to their lofty expectations but pummels them to the ground and rubs their faces in the dirt.
They open with a sucker punch and never relent.
This is a band which is not so much loved as they are worshipped in and around my home city of Manchester. The anticipation surrounding this release is gigantean – consider that they’ve been sat on the finished product for a little while now, yearning for the world to finally be able to wrap their ears around these ten new low down and filthy slabs of sludge. Simply having this record a few months ahead of the release date is enough to have people resolutely envious. All things considered then, it’s astonishing just how easily they quash any possibility of this being anything other than well worth the wait.
Adding yet still to the hype circling this album like hungry vultures is the fact the band moved into the infamous Sky Hammer Studios to lay down the tracks. The result is a powerfully elegant dirge. It’s masterfully produced with guitar tones that have their own suffocating gravitational pull, a comatose rhythm section that rumbles like the uneasy shifting of tectonic plates and Alex Hurst’s air raid siren howls all coming together to sound simply imperious.
Cone’ grinds, grates and grooves with the deliverance of a band twice their age and three times their size. The Slickness of their compositions, you think to yourself in the crossfire of the track’s barraging latter stages, is absolutely exceptional. Conan, arguably masters of the same trade, released their latest album but a few weeks ago, but for me, it is but a spec on the quality of this record. There’s an elevation to it, an otherworldliness and a freshness that wrestles with the aesthetics of the influences that shape their wide open sound that reeks of individualism. And it is upon that identity that they are forging their way to becoming something far greater than just another sludge band.
Axis Of Green’ again flirts with those Eastern flavours, Hurst’s bellowing and chanting atop cascading riffs that flit between distortion and a clean tone that sounds bewitched. At times it comes across as a darker, possessed Soundgarden whereas the instrumental ‘Highatus’ makes full use of octave pedals to craft an evil gargling atmosphere that marches straight to the funeral pyre.
Hurst’s stand out performance comes on ‘Chabal’. A song both towering and expansive in its length, his lyrics are threatening and evocative. With Conan vocalist Jon Davis guesting on the track (as well as Lung Mountain), Hurst stamps his authority all over the track, not letting his guest star steal the show.
Elsewhere, ‘Escapegoat’ beats you into submission; that precisely dialled octave pedal abused once more. Underpinned by a swinging riff, it has an innate ability to make you move, a slave to the gloom. ‘Lung Valley plays around with dynamics a little more. A softer song, albeit still a devious one, it helps broaden the record’s horizons while closing track ‘Hot Priest’ brings out the wah pedal for one last siege of your eardrums.
As a whole, ‘Herb Your Enthusiasm’ is damnably convincing. Toxic grooves and acidic bass lines snake under some of the most unholy guitar motifs, coupled with a vocalist who sounds like a Tibetan Monk upon discovering ‘Dopesmoker’. It’s fucking wonderful. Stand up. Pay attention. Boss Keloid are the pinnacle of the sludge movement right now.
“Herb Your Enthusiasm” will be available for preorder at the end of February

FFO: Keelhaul, Melvins, Zappa Meets Sabbath

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