Bölzer - Hero review
|Release date:||November 2016|
02. The Archer
06. I Am III
07. Spiritual Athleticism
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.
||Written on 23.12.2016 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.|
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| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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