Bossk
Migration


3.5
great

Review

by MiloRuggles STAFF
June 26th, 2021 | 28 replies


Release Date: 06/18/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bossk in the ambience

Introductions are important. When The Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan both premiered in 1998, their approaches to opening scenes differed wildly despite sharing similar central subject matter [spoiler alert: war]. Saving Private Ryan opens with a beach assault in which death and destruction strike swiftly and mercilessly. The Thin Red Line's opening frames depict an alligator sifting through murky waters, sun beams flickering through a forest canopy, a question from the narrator: “What's this war in the heart of nature?...”

These introductions set up very different expectations, and each film delivers on its original premise in spades; Spielberg laces his film with gritty action, Malick conjures up an amorphous, drifting dreamscape in which nature dominates the screen even while battles rage.

In 2016, Bossk released Audio Noir, their first full-length album following their inaugural trilogy of EPs, the last of which was actually a live DVD that came out in 2008. The trilogy demonstrated an uncanny mastery of the slowly surging dynamics that define post metal, and garnered a cult following as a result. It was hard to know exactly what to expect from the band after an eight year hiatus, but Audio Noir's opening washes of rich, warm chords signalled a band that had expanded their sonic palette, their collection of effects pedals, their budget for production, and their collective vision.

Migration's introduction is once again a crash zoom onto the newest feathers sticking out of Bossk's cap – namely an incorporation of “Noise Manipulation” courtesy of Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura of Endon. Opener 'White Stork' emphasises a focus on subtlety and layering, darkening their sound and introducing some new and unexpected timbres. When the drums enter Bossk-style – that is, out of nowhere with a strong, direct groove – there's a heavy delay on the rim shot and an electronic feel to the kit. Layered synths and sounds continue to pile in atop each other, but the track purposefully falls apart before it ever really resolves.

As this introduction infers and as we all hoped, Migration does represent new ground for Bossk, and the blueprints promise worthwhile expansion, but it would seem that some of Bossk's old toolkit was left in the ute during construction. Some of these tools were left behind on purpose, to be sure. The band stated that they were pushing their own vocals to the wayside, yet these were always a rare treat rather than a core tenet of their sound. Regardless, the two best tracks here, 'Menhir' and 'HTV-3' feature Johannes Persson (Cult of Luna) and Josh Mckeown (Palm Reader) respectively in track-defining vocal performances. You can't miss what's basically still there.

What has almost disappeared entirely is what was Audio Noir's biggest revelation: the experiments in melodic post rock that gave us the iconic track pairing of 'Relancer' and 'Kobe'. While their new focus on noise manipulation reaps rewards at both ends of Bossk's dynamic spectrum – providing a bridging track like 'Kibo' with intimidating ambience, or adding that little extra tang during some of the album's crushing crescendos – it feels in some instances as if Bossk have been forced to make room for this facet rather than smoothly integrating it into their sound.

The final track pairing provides a model for the potential that's being played with here. After 'Lira' eventually culminates in chugs powerful enough that I'm pretty sure I can hear Jared Dines bust a nut from across the Pacific every time I play it, the track falls into noise which bleeds over into the closer. 'Unberth' builds upon and plays with this foundation, layering the track like a gateau and finally providing some of that sweet post rock icing, but ultimately abandoning the experiment in the same manner that 'White Stork' did at the start of the album. It's dangerously close to being fantastic, but never quite manages to cross the line.

It's bloody hard to clear the bar when it's up so high though, huh? Migration showcases a Bossk ready to push their dynamics, layering, and general heaviness all the way to the red line, and the high frequency fuckery will have lovers of hi-fi rubbing their heated tubes in awe. If this were my first exposure to the band, perhaps I'd be attempting to proselytise every post metal fan I could point my keyboard at. As things stand, though, Bossk's introductory releases have conditioned me to expect something more.



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user ratings (52)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


1532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In conclusion, listen to Audio Noir and watch The Thin Red Line. Just kidding (kinda) this album is well worth the (cheap!) price of admission: https://bosskband.bandcamp.com/



This is the least amount of jokes I've ever had in a review and I feel uncomfortable and exposed. Sorry, I've found myself in an unexpected phase of (relative) sobriety. Your regular programming will resume in due time.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


15144 Comments


Milo working some Boss(k) magic.

Ashtiel
June 26th 2021


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the circumstances surrounding this release (starting as a collaboration with Endon before turning into a full LP, the vocalist's absence due to health problems) definitely make this an interesting stepping stone for the band and one that i'm ultimately, quite happy with.

bassist Tom Begley mentioned on a podcast (Riot Act) that the band are set to record an EP of "interesting" material that he mentioned possibly as .4 sometime this summer, then release early next year. LP3 is also looking to be a 12 track double album at present, with release sometime in 2023 maybe.

so, hopefully the wait for new material won't be as long as the gap between this an Audio Noir, yea?

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


1532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well those are some interesting factoids that I probably should've searched for. Makes a lot of sense. That's awesome that there's so much in the pipelines!

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


25713 Comments


Fantastic review Milo, love your writing, man.

Digging: Earth and Fire - Song of the Marching Children

ghostalgeist
June 26th 2021


444 Comments


had no idea i'd hear a thin red line namedrop, like, this *year* tbh

good ass movie

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


1532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks!



I had the pleasure of seeing it at the cinema last year, which I was super pumped about cause it's a top 5 movie for me. So, yeah. Good ass movie

SputnikSweetheart
June 26th 2021


331 Comments


Only listened to this 3 or 4 times over the last week but I really wasn't impressed with what I heard.
Great review! I definitely miss the more post-rock leaning elements of audio noir (personally this is more of a 3 than a 3.5 but doesn't matter)

Azog
June 26th 2021


579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jumped on this wagon only recently, but what a nice find it is!

Digging: Skepticism - Companion

botb
June 26th 2021


14775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Way more ambient than I was expecting but when it slaps it slaps

Lacedaemonius
June 26th 2021


81 Comments


I feel like I need an already understanding of Bossk in order to grok this review. Props for figuring out a way to relate this to two great war films though.

Storm In A Teacup
June 26th 2021


34650 Comments


Are they named after the Star Wars character

Pikazilla
June 26th 2021


18951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

everyone who enjoyed this should check kowloon walled city

Slex
June 26th 2021


12160 Comments


KWC is an incredible band

Digging: Trophy Scars - Astral Pariah

teamster
June 26th 2021


5688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They held back material for future releases. Only explanation. Also, I know half this “album” is ambient/electronic/ keyboard stuff but it’s done the best in the post metal genre in a long time. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Trna - Istok

teamster
June 26th 2021


5688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pika - KWC is nothing like this. I would say Crib45.

TheSpirit
June 28th 2021


28441 Comments


mindpos for the summary alone


great review too -- i've never really listened to these guys beyond a few sounds but i appreciate you breaking down how this is a different turn for them

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Emim
June 29th 2021


31065 Comments


I prefer IG-88

DamnVanne
June 29th 2021


3453 Comments


Sounds like I have to dust off the headphones for this one

Muzz79
June 29th 2021


1169 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Gave this a spin today on SitarHero's rec and will be coming back

Digging: Phinehas - The Fire Itself



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