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Bossk - .4 review



Reviewer:
N/A

8 users:
8.25
Band: Bossk
Album: .4
Style: Atmospheric sludge metal
Release date: May 2024


01. Kobe x Pijn
02. Truth II
03. Albert
04. Events Occur In Real Time
05. White Stork x Endon
06. I [Reuben Gotto 2006 Remix]
07. The Reverie x Maybeshewill
08. The Reverie II x Crown Lands
09. 181 To Beulah

When Bossk released their rather petite sophomore album Migration in 2021, it was rumoured that this was just the first of several new records in the immediate pipeline. As it is, the first release from Bossk since Migration turned out to be something a bit different.

.4 is described as being ‘the latest in a series of numbered releases that presents material outside the remit of Bossk’s full-length album output’; this seems slightly weird to me, as for the first decade of the band’s existence, the .1 and .2 EPs represented the only tangible studio output from Bossk. In the case of .4, however, this description feels more apt, as this quasi-compilation contains remixes, reimaginings of older songs, and collaborative reworkings in conjunction with several different artists.

It also contains several ‘new’ songs that had only previously been heard live (or as live recordings), including the final new studio recording featuring vocalist Sam Marsh, whose long-time absence from live performances (and from Migration) is finally confirmed to be a permanent departure from Bossk due to his relocating to the US. It’s easy to imagine why further full albums have not been forthcoming given this turbulence, and the provisional announcement that album number 3 will arrive in 2025 suggests that normal service may soon resume, but in the meantime, .4 provides an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on Bossk’s time with Marsh.

Starting with the ‘new’ songs, “Albert” is a brief electronic track that had previously only been heard in 1 live performance, and it’s a fun exploration of IDM and electronic rock sounds. Closing song “181 To Beulah” also eschews metal; this is a dreamy, ambient post-rock song with a foundation of warm synth with sparse, evocative clean guitar textures and a solo on top. It reminds me somewhat of This Will Destroy You, and it makes for a nice extended denouement to .4. Probably the most ‘significant’ song here, however, is “Events Occur In Real Time”, whose 12 minutes provide one last example of Marsh’s roars. This track was apparently conceived prior to the band entering a hiatus in 2008, and its extended, gradual shift from post-rock cleanliness to metallic heft does generally bear a closer resemblance to the .1/.2 EPs than their post-hiatus output. However, there is a riff and resultant section starting around the 5-minute mark that feels like a prototype of songs such as “Heliopause” from Audio Noir, and the use of trumpet late in the song is a nice novelty for the band.

Moving onto the remaining cuts, and there are two remixes/reimaginings of songs from the aforementioned early EPs. The remix of “I” by Time Zero’s Reuben Gotto is almost as old at the band itself, and featured previously on 2008 live DVD .3; it’s a very distorted and noisy spin on the song, and I’m not sure how much it benefits the track, but its inclusion on this compilation does make sense. Of more interest, arguably, is “Truth II”, a reimagining of “Truth” from .2 featuring Sheenagh Murray on vocals; Bossk had plans to make an acoustic version of “Truth”, but after being tagged on Instagram by Murray in a vocal cover performed by her, they instead opted to rewrite the song in collaboration. The end result comes out very nicely; the influence of Isis on the band’s early compositions is evidently clear here, and having the soft, distant vocals drifting in and out of the song as it gradually layers and intensifies really reminds me of a similar approach by Isis on the song “Weight” from Oceanic.

Finally, there are the 4 collaborative reworkings of songs from Audio Noir and Migration. Two of the artists they’ve worked with are very logical matches; Pijn are stalwarts in the UK post-rock/metal scene, and their signature cello/violin elevate a very sparse and dainty post-rock reinterpretation of “Kobe”, while Maybeshewill take “The Reverie” in a neoclassical piano direction. A more intriguing feature here is from Canadian Rush worshippers Crown Lands; truth be told, aside from some quite overt psychedelic/prog keyboard parts, I’m not sure how much they bring to “The Reverie II”, which sounds most recognizably as its original version out of any of the tracks here. Finally, Japan’s Endon, who guested on Migration, deliver a sparse noise ambient rendition of that album’s opening track “White Stork”.

.4 is very much a release for the fans; I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone previously unacquainted with Bossk start here, and even as a fan myself, I suspect I won’t be returning to it. However, on top of it being nice to hear one final new song from the band’s original line-up, I do find the “Truth II” and “Kobe x Pijn” features in particular to be very enjoyable. I’m excited to hear what the group come out with should their third album arrive on time next year, but until then, .4 provides a nice opportunity to reflect on where Bossk have come from to reach this point.





Written on 12.05.2024 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 70 users
12.05.2024 - 23:01
Rating: 8
tea[m]ster
Au Pays Natal
Contributor
Truth II is a candidate for SOTY. Thanks for the review.
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rekt
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13.05.2024 - 10:40
Elder
I had to check if it's Om - Conference Of The Birds artwork...
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13.05.2024 - 13:10
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Admin
Written by Elder on 13.05.2024 at 10:40

I had to check if it's Om - Conference Of The Birds artwork...

I took the liberty of editing your post with a proper album tag, so people can immediately see what you mean.
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13.05.2024 - 16:06
Elder
Written by corrupt on 13.05.2024 at 13:10

Written by Elder on 13.05.2024 at 10:40

I had to check if it's Om - Conference Of The Birds artwork...

I took the liberty of editing your post with a proper album tag, so people can immediately see what you mean.



Thanks! I just didn't know how to do it this way instead of post whole link... now I know. Thanks again.
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13.05.2024 - 16:15
corrupt
With a lowercase c
Admin
Written by Elder on 13.05.2024 at 16:06
Thanks mate! I just didn't know how to do it this way instead of post whole link now I know! Thanks again.

When you're not on iOS, you can search for an album in the search bar and use the tag icon to copy a fully formatted album tag to the clipboard. It's shown here.
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