German, analog-only label, Iron Bonehead Productions, is currently on quite a winning streak with recent and upcoming releases from Unaussprechlichen Kulten, ZOM, Death Karma, Heretic Cult Redeemer, and Beyond (DE), just to name a few. But, one of the most interesting of them all is this 3-song debut EP from Swiss two-piece, Bölzer.
Their inconspicuous moniker and logo style had me expecting retro Teutonic thrash, but the first few seconds of “CME” quickly disproved that theory with churning guitars and deep, cavernous vocals. It seemed I was in for more murky death of the Grave Miasma, Muknal, Pseudogod variety. Oh, but what’s this? Clean vocals? These distant cries completely change the atmosphere and eventually prove to be an integral part of their sound. Things soon get even more out of the ordinary when lilting, atonal chord progressions come into play that I’ve never heard in this context before, but probably wouldn’t be out of place on some noise rock album. The doomy The Chasm feel of the mid-section ends up being the most familiar part of the song.
I’m surprised yet again as “Entranced by the Wolfshook” explodes with a massive, memorable riff that sounds like early Smashing Pumpkins shat from the bowels of hell. I don’t know if this was their intention or not, but it’s brilliant either way. The rest of the track is fleshed out with some enjoyable chunky guitars and dissonance, but damn, that riff just absolutely owns and thankfully makes more than one appearance. With my expectations on high, 10+ minute closer, “The Great Unifier,” seems slightly lackluster, but can still be counted along with the other two tracks as one of the best I’ve heard this year as it weaves varied tempos, discordant guitars, and a healthy amount of impassioned vocal wailing.
Even though this can most definitely be defined as death metal, Bölzer has crafted something with it that very few others have: a sound that’s unlike anyone else, yet feels completely natural. Never before have I heard such vibrant personality from such oppressive darkness. If they can now expand that into a full-length, the upper echelon awaits.[Visit the band's website]