Bölzer - Hero review




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Reviewer:
7.0

54 users:
7.52
Band: Bölzer
Album: Hero
Release date: November 2016


01. Urdr
02. The Archer
03. Hero
04. Phosphor
05. Decima
06. I Am III
07. Spiritual Athleticism
08. Chlorophyllia
09. Atropos


If there's one release from 2016 that has generated the most mixed reaction in me, it would probably have to be Bölzer's Hero.

If you've been paying attention, Bölzer have made quite a bit of noise in underground metal circles over the past 3 years, establishing a firm reputation with just two EPs for a thundering fusion of black and death metal that is not to be taken lightly. In 2016 then, it may catch some off guard to hear their Hero debut moving in a considerably different direction than its predecessors, for better and sometimes for worse. Overall the music here goes for a much more "epic" approach, primarily via a wide utilization of clean vocals from frontman Okoi Jones. Bölzer have flirted a bit with this technique in the past, but here it feels much more pronounced and expanded upon. Although at times making the band sound strikingly different than before, somehow the increase in these cleans doesn't sound forced or at odds with the "Bölzer spirit" at all, and serves as a worthy complement to Jones' growls ("The Archer" is particularly strong).

Where Hero seems to falter, however, is that coming with this increase in clean vocals is also a general decrease in tempo and lack of variety in the riffing. This certainly is not to say that the songwriting here is terrible, but rather that it lacks a lot of the catchiness and forward momentum displayed previously. It may be owed to the fact that the music sounds a bit more chord-based, therefore being not as inclined towards the pounding death metal riffs of earlier, but more towards simplicity and repetition, and this especially shows towards the album's middle. Thankfully the tempo does pick up at times, as on "Phosphor" and the closing "Cholorophyllia," but even so, when it does the riffing style still feels like it's somewhat redundant, at times making tracks here difficult to distinguish from one another. Put simply, some fat trimming and greater variation would help a lot.

Hero is definitely one of those "it's good, but..." type albums. And the "but" largely comes from a sense that the slower speeds and more minimalist nature of the songwriting has compromised the degree to which the music really sticks on you. In a way it feels as though Bölzer tried to go for a more ritualistic approach here, and while I certainly applaud the effort and their commitment to evolving their sound, it could also use a good bit of refinement. But truth be told, Hero makes me more curious for the future of the band than anything else, because a few ideas they're playing around with here are indeed very interesting, and hopefully they'll go further into something quite grand in the future with a little more polishing.

Not all heroes wear capes. Proof.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 23.12.2016 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 160 users
23.12.2016 - 15:17
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Funny, my review of it is much more negative than yours, yet I scored it a point higher
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Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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23.12.2016 - 16:01
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 23.12.2016 at 15:17

Funny, my review of it is much more negative than yours, yet I scored it a point higher

That's pretty strange indeed. It's a rare moment when we're close to the same scoring of an album
Care to link?
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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26.12.2016 - 16:09
InnerSelf
proofread free
I pretty much agree with you on the low points and the flaws of this album but I can't help but enjoy the shit out of it.
One of the main examples here is the fact that I loved the clean vocals, I know they are out of tune and are being put way infront in the mix but I feel that they are balanced by the really impressive (howling) harsh vocals.

Quote:
Hero is definitely one of those "it's good, but..." type albums. And the "but" largely comes from a sense that the slower speeds and more minimalist nature of the songwriting has compromised the degree to which the music really sticks on you.


I have to agree here, I think an argument can be made that they were trying a bit too hard to make the songs more catchy thus losing some of those extremely powerful Death Metal moments they had on the EPs.

I think you did the album just but for me it's an 8.5 (not to get too caught up on the score or anything).
----
He who is not bold enough
to be stared at from across the abyss
is not bold enough
to stare into it himself.
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26.12.2016 - 16:51
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by InnerSelf on 26.12.2016 at 16:09

I pretty much agree with you on the low points and the flaws of this album but I can't help but enjoy the shit out of it.
One of the main examples here is the fact that I loved the clean vocals, I know they are out of tone and are being put way infront in the mix but I feel that they are balanced by the really impressive (howling) harsh vocals. I think an argument can be made that they were trying a bit too hard to make the songs more catchy thus losing some of those extremely powerful Death Metal moments they had on the EPs.

I think you did the album just but for me it's an 8.5 (not to get too caught up on the score or anything).

Nah I wouldn't score it that high, the clean vocals are certainly interesting and you're right, do serve as a great complement to the harsh ones (people keep saying out of tune... my ear may not be as catered to that as others', but I don't have much of a problem with them). It just lacks the memorability, going forward I hope the band manages to somehow combine those punch-packing riffs of the EP with some of the more epic moments they're exploring here
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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