Review Summary: A Force To Be Reckoned With
42 minutes. This is the number of minutes that Swiss brutes Bölzer have concocted over their mere 2 EP back catalogue in 2 years. Once, they where one of the most anticipated bands in the underground scene; and now they ARE the most exciting ones to come around in an age. Some bands have released numerous albums and still find themselves playing in venues no bigger than a crypt half full of diehard followers. What these bands lack is the same ingredient that Bölzer consume: Individuality.
After the devastating debut EP Aura was unleashed in 2013, many expected a full length album to flank this beast. Within Aura was the rich sound of guttural growls and stampede of guitars that illustrated the extremity and talent that the duo where capable of producing. The title itself was a definition of their original creative sound. With his 10 string guitar, ‘KzR’ was able to amplify soundscapes of rabid rage behind his memorable riffs to create such evil imagery that was heavy enough to drag you down to the depths of hell. In hindsight, Soma is best suited to another EP format in the same was Aura is. The distinct sound is best put across through the limited length of an EP rather than have other, possibly less compelling, tracks stand alongside these satanic anthems.
Soma instantaneously introduces itself as a Bölzer record. Steppes takes off to a gravelly path of spiking guitar and steadily crashing drum beats. The tragic imagery is present within seconds of the first of two new songs whereby KzR’s guitars trail are stricken to a singular riff, then rise once more to merge the cacophonous sound of drum and guitar together. Paganised spoken word passages and brooding chants are new aspects that Bölzer establish, each aspect adds to the already nihilistic tone to generate a sensation of cataclysm. Their individuality is enhanced by the dynamic changes in their extreme music. The jittering drumwork of ‘HzR’ crashes between pounding double bass and slower, more impending fills while the guitars, frantic as they already are sound just as grinding played `slowly as they do in their natural accelerated state.
Labyrinthian Graves is, expectedly, a 12 minute behemoth. What’s not as expected is how urgently climatic the beginning of the song can sound. In any other extreme metal song, this intro could sound like its climax. For Bölzer, this is a meagre charge of energy about to be unchained. HzR’s insane drumming signals the sudden increasing tempo and KzR goes from brooding growling to frantic cries. Within the disharmonious atmosphere lies the important groove that the duo masters. This highlights the depth of musical dynamism that Bölzer devour- the sudden change in direction creates a buzz of unassuming mystique and shadiness that equal the demonic lyrics of death and the occult.
In 18 minutes the Swiss partnership has bludgeoned their way to deserved acclaim. Soma is similar to no other album other than its predecessor and no, it doesn’t matter whether they will release a full length album as any fan of Bölzer will be gnawing just for another 2 track EP... but if they do... Expect it to be of earth cracking heaviness.