Review Summary: on your knees
I'm not sure what's in San Francisco's water supply, but lets hope people keep on drinking it; we need more post-black metal bands like Bosse-De-Nage. The shadow-y counterpart to the scene darlings Deafheaven, BDN offer a similar onslaught of screamo-tinged black metal, unhinged and ready to fly off the rails at any given moment. It may seem lazy to compare BDN to Deafheaven - apparently no post-black metal band these days can escape them- but both these bands come from the same hometown, from the same scene, share influences, and honestly, sound very similar.
The difference? Listening to Deafheaven is like staring into the sun; listening to Bosse-De-Nage is like staring into an abyss.
All Fours is BDN's fourth release, and though I haven't listened to any of their prior material, it's not hard to see why they are an up-and-comer in the USBM scene. Their music comes through the speaker like a shot of adrenaline - urgent, volatile, explosive. Lead-off salvo "At Night" propels you right into the fray. It's brimming with a spontaneous energy so sorely missed within modern black metal. It's like even the band themselves don't even know what's coming next; from stoic walls of white noise to colorfully impassioned riffage, the band traverses the lines between BM and screamo so frequently and swiftly it's hard to tell where one ends and another begins. This is the first of many tracks that will leave you wondering whether these two genres were meant to be together all along.
Though the Deafheaven comparisons are certainly warranted - the swirling melodies in "A Subtle Change" being the best example of their like-minded approach- there is a terrifying darkness that seeps from every pore of All Fours. Vocalist B. makes damn sure of that. His macabre poetry is delivered in the form of gravelly howl, unrestrained and from the gut. It's borderline psychotic, and it's that raw and frustrated feeling that grounds this album firmly in black metal territory. While bright at times, the music certainly reflects his seething hatred for everything. In "The Industry of Distance" his haunting narrative of rejection, isolation, and death is met with music that seems to be racing towards its demise just as frantically as the character of his tale.
Though their combination of skramz and black metal isn't particularly innovative, Bosse-De-Nage play with such revitalizing liveliness, every moment of this album feels like a venture into untreaded territory. Post-black metal -and to a greater extent, black metal - needs more bands like this. Slowly, but surely black metal has allowed outside influences to creep their way into its foundation, and honestly, it seems like a saving grace for a style of music that limits itself to such a rigid structure. Bosse-De-Nage are yet another example of how forward-thinking black metal continues to keep black metal from becoming stagnant. All Fours is one of black metal's powerhouse records in 2015, and it will bring you to your knees.