Like fellow North Carolina instrumental sages Husky (now known as Watch Husky Burn), three-piece Boar weave gracefully manic, deviously diverse jams across their debut Self-Titled EP.  Their tricky, psychedelic work casts a magician’s mind control spell on the listener as it traverses the briny depths of psychedelic rock, ascends the mountainous plateau of heavy metal and makes camp on the serene Great Plains of post-ambience.  They are a hard act to pin down but the band reckons of judgements cast by Sabbath, Floyd, Lizzy, Karma to Burn, later 5ive (circa Hesperus), Corsair, Isis, Tool, Maiden, Pelican and that godly Maryland doom/rock/metal vibe.  You need a damn accurate set of darts to try and pin these guys to a wall, because there is no adherence to a singular genre happening here.  There’s a lot of sound put out for a trio and the songs yield plenty of reasons to come back for repeat listens with their numerous texture fluxes and gorgeous tones.

“Thales” opens with a submerging, sonically drowned series of wraparound chords from the guitars and bass, creating a Tool-esque repetition hammered into place by drummer Rob’s steadfast rock beats.  Higher-end, melodic 6-string twinkles are bathed in a star-glow of reverb n’ delay, with guitarist Pat introducing a classic, Lizzy-oriented metal lick during the build-up.  Everything grows upward in this deliberate rise of masterfully layered instrumentation; coming to a volcanic head of hard riffage that’s complimented and crushed to a fine powder thanks to Rob’s back breaking snare-fills.  Jeff works up a sweat on the low-end as he keeps the groove fluid and limber, enforcing perpetual motion for the swaying guitar-work as it ranges from snake-charmed melodies to punishing 70s riffs that tip the hat to Karma to Burn.  The natural, organic progression on display eventually culminates in a firestorm of road ready, Iron Maiden tinged guitar solos that gave yours truly a brass-knuckle uppercut to the chin.  These guys possess the grit and progressiveness needed to really give themselves an identity of their own.

A myriad of echoing, oscillating gloriously intertwined guitar melodies bend into a distinctly southern blues in “Chamber Door’s” glistening introduction.  It’s got the peacefulness of a good Pink Floyd jam going, but twice the movement.  The lucid twang feels like it could have come straight off of Meddle.  They take their time, waiting for the exact perfect moment to spring a beartrap riff on your unsuspecting foot; Rob hustling and bustling his way into agile patterns on the toms before a molasses thick bass groove pushes the guitar into a hurtling series of soul-torn leads and noisy angular riffs that did their trigonometry homework.  Those post-rockin’ leads and bruising power chords marking the finale feels akin to one of Isis’ more melodic crumbles on Celestial or Oceanic, respectively.

There’s a dirty, doom-y riff basked in the blues kicking off the chugging grind of “Tusk.”  It has a Maryland influenced knuckle-drag going on full of flashy interjections where the rhythm section maintains an Earthen muscle as Pat’s fingers fly across the fretboard.  A restrained midsection break delegates the riffage to a mesmerizing rotation with Jeff providing a Justin Chancellor sort of commentary to flesh it out.  Pat falls back entirely leaving Rob to bash n’ smash through a frenetic polyrhythm while Jeff rips into a bloody hunk of noise-rock beef; the tune ending in a storm of Sabbath riffed might when all is said and done.  If you only got time to check out one track if you give these guys a listen, I think this is a great place to start.  Though if time allows for two, I wouldn’t recommend passing up the immediately following “Moirai.”  This is a song meant for patient ears and it thrives on allowing itself room to develop and unfold.  At first it’s bending at the knee with a trembling, melancholic heartbreak of somber chording and bottomless wells of rhythmic nuance.  Patience is a virtue and here it is truly rewarded by a ballsy, black n’ blue riff that gradually mutates into double-tracked, wah-doused vintage metal harmonizing.  The entire passage must have pissed Rob off because he lays into some of the most diabolic snare abandon on the entire EP and just when you think the tension will snap the power lines everything floats off into a glorious dreamland until the song is sucked up in a tornado of madman dual guitar harmonies and shambling riffs.  Instead of finishing off the EP on a subtle note, I completely dig the fact that closer “Rising Dawn” is the riffiest, rockingest and most metallic jam of Boar’s entire repertoire.  It grooves, swings, gallops, riffs and harmonizes with grandiosity; from battle-tested 70s metal to skyscraper blues riffs, this beastly album-ender never fails to astound.  If Metallica was makin’ shit that sounded like this I’d still give a damn.

So it’s safe to say Boar impressed the hell out of me.  Hopefully this baby gets a physical press because I’d be first in line to buy it.  These cats aren’t afraid to experiment; they throw in a lot of somethings and a little bit of everything into this EP.  With the chances taken here it’d be easy to come off as contrived or cluttered, but the talented guys in Boar know how to play their hand.  This is a highly recommend keeper for instrumental aficionados, classic heavy metal fans and worshippers of the riff that appreciate when a band calms down and psyches out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
November 3rd, 2015


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