Saturday 20 February 2016

Boss Keloid - Herb Your Enthusiasm (Album Review)

Release date: April 8th 2016. Label: Black Bow Records. Format: CD/DD

Herb Your Enthusiasm – Tracklisting

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

Band Members:

Paul Swarbrick | Guitars
Ste Arands | Drums
Adam Swarbrick | Bass
Alex Hurst | Vocals


Boss Keloid separate albums with a gap of approximately 3 years between releases. Angular Beef Lesson in 2010 exposed us to the turbulent style of this particular band. The Calming Influence of Teeth in 2013 was their debut full length that I found was akin to what made Mastodon so great in the past. The delivery of Herb Your Enthusiasm in 2016 is well worth the wait. This album is like a fine rot gut wine made from the dying vine, with ingredients that require an acquired taste, not of the master sommelier, but that of the genius bum.

Herb Your Enthusiasm reminds me of one of those Dr. Seuss contraptions where manufacturing songs are the end result of the musicians using everything at their disposal to create an infectious sound mandating a must listen. The swell of different sounds and vocal approaches culminate in a dynamic, wide range of music that increases appeal. There is no strict adherence to the more familiar singular song structure and style assimilation noticeable in the band majority. Destruction into creation is at work here and reveal a band who don't limit the proud to play process by sticking to pure classification.

They aren't afraid of inclusion. This release has everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink. A virtual metallic infused chop suey. You don’t need to be into the huff and puff surrounding a certain plant that this album is associated with in order to appreciate the progressive sonic trip.
Now off to the songs...

"Lung Mountain" has peaks and valleys, primarily denoted by heaviness and an overall sense of brutality.

"Haarlem Struggle" is a great track. It is catchy, ruthless and strange…just like an ancient plague. A musical ghost train, grooving and clamoring on ramshackle rails, carrying primo sludge to your electronic ears.

"Escapegoat" is a double dipped offering that combines the vocally harmonious with firm bellows from the dismal swamp.

"Cone" is a rerun of the simmering pot that eventually boils over. You can feel yourself defy gravity as you grow larger through distorted resonances and step into some nifty platform shoes.

"Axis of Green" showcases the undeniable ability of this band in snagging you with their memorable phrases and singing styles, all within the crushing weight of sheer distorted denseness.

"Highatus" is a short fade in and out instrumental.

"Lung Valley" opens the vocal cabinet further and treats the listener to the unmasqued potential of this singer.

"Elegant Odyssey" offers no whys, no wherefores throughout the band’s control of the volume knob. Soulful meditation alloy fused with abrupt antagonism.

"Chabal" demonstrates the appetite of this band. This constellation of sound ingredients brighten and dimmer and ultimately disrupt the bulk of music today. Take a ride on your skateboard as the older burnouts tie it to the hitch of a possessed hearse traversing through a deserted cemetery. Destination destruction with a soundtrack of mighty riffs.

"Hot Priest" sums up the life cycle of this band. You will notice abrupt changes in style and aggression, analogous to trying to step on a cockroach that zigzags across your tenement floor. Don't fight them, learn to live with them.

Overall, this record contains a violent breed of songs that do not tear the album apart, but rather draw you into its mystery and leave you with a raised scar. The band have the required prowess to play their sludge soaked instruments in order to convey their manhole cover sized collection of songs. I think you will enjoy this melodic array that pushes towards the periphery of metal music, rather than just relying on the usual simplistic, shop-worn affair.

The discovery of this enigmatic gift of musicianship will leave some scratching their heads in disbelief, while leaving others rubbing their hands in excitement. Its kinda like your grandfather’s old handkerchief full of hepatitis boogers destined to break every health code. It may be repugnant and enticing, but also versatile and necessary nonetheless. Boss Keloid has the guts to roar in the face of the angry bear who was awoken from his hibernation, that which is made all the more poignant because they kicked him in the balls in the first place.

Words by Nick Palmisano

Thanks to Boss Keloid and Lisa at Hold Tight PR for the promo. Herb Your Enthusiasm will be available to buy on CD/DD from Black Bow Records from April 8th 2016.