Review Summary: Long overdue, but a journey more than worth your time.
I’ve always felt a little bit haunted by Bossk. No seriously, let me explain.
Rarely is there a worse feeling than a band that shows so much initial promise, splitting before said potential is realised. Sure their two EP’s (named “.1” and “.2” respectively) were brilliant little slabs of post metal. But the endless desire for more cast a deep shadow when ‘Bossk’ announced their split in 2008. So you can imagine my delight when “Audio Noir’s” existence was announced to the world, while a reunion had been confirmed with 2013’s ‘Pick up artist’, actually getting a full LP was a genuine surprise. Whether it would live up to the sky-high expectations thrust upon it however is an entirely different matter.
Thankfully ‘Audio Noir’ impresses from the very beginning. With the entrancing opener of ‘The Reverie” showcasing a much more refined sound from a band who feel like they are finally showing us that sound in their head. The classic blend between post rock and sludge has always been a cornerstone to Bossk’s sound but here it feels more immediate and completely natural. It feels cliché at this point to state an album needs to be experienced in one sitting, but to witness such a transition from these beautiful passages, start to finish is astounding. ‘Kobe’ is possibly the best example of this kind of movement, but the release as a whole encompasses this ideal. Whether it be the sludgy groove heavy riffs of ‘Atom Smasher” or the psychedelic bliss of ‘Relancer’, nothing feels out of place and exactly where it should be. Some of the absolutely colossal climax’s these songs achieve are nothing short of blistering and stand among the best the genre has to offer.
Credit has to be given to Sam Marsh for exercising such restraint with his blistering yell. Whilst ‘Audio Noir’ has a huge focus on its instrumental sections, Sam shows up precisely when the impact would be greatest, complimenting to some already incredible sections (closer ‘The Reverie II’ is possibly the best song Bossk have ever written in this regard). While there are times where the vocals are dipped amongst the guitars in the mix that may prove bothersome for some. Personally I feel it adds to the catastrophic walls of sound ‘Bossk’ often create to add even more depth to an already polished sound. It’s worth mentioning the brilliance of the rhythm section. Smooth bass slowly creeps its way into mix often shifting the mood entirely. Backed up by Nick Corney’s lurking drum work, which often develops into a beast of its own.
If anything, ‘Audio Noir’ is a huge relief. The wait for one of the most overdue debut LP’s is finally over and the fact that it hits such soaring highs is just the icing on the cake. I can’t help but wonder where ‘Bossk’ will go from here. We can only await and hope for more releases of such quality. Armed with renewed vigour and brilliant new material the future is certainly looking bright.