Bölzer
Soma EP

Does this review even need to exist? Unless you’re someone who’s saving your next illegal download for the new Slipknot album, you probably already have this thing pre-ordered. Never before have I seen a band gain so much popularity in such a short amount of time on so few songs. Quality over quantity is Bölzer’s modus operandi, and I’m all for it. I won’t mind if they spend their entire career releasing EPs. The format works well for them. There’s more to digest in each one of their songs than in most bands’ entire full-lengths. Soma only contains two new tracks, but both pack a dense punch.

Most of you who are reading this are probably just wondering how Soma stacks up to Aura. The overall approach hasn’t changed much, but there are a few minor differences. First off, the primary vocal style is higher, giving this EP a blacker feel. Deep growls still appear, but are used more sparingly. There are also not much of the grungy clean vocals that littered Aura, which is a little disappointing. There’s also a lack of bold, instantly memorable rock riffs like in “Entranced by the Wolfshook.” Not that there isn’t anything memorable; you just have to dig a little more for it. But overall, it’s still the same unique mix of cavernous death metal with lilting, noise rock chords ringing out everywhere. KzR’s palm rarely touches the strings, leaving them to vibrate to their full potential as one riff bleeds into the next. And, in terms of production, they seem to follow the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“Steppes” throws around a couple of chunky riffs and militant drumming, but you already know that since it’s been out there for a few months now. That’s only a third of the EP, though. Menacing chanting, doomy tones, and spacey ambience echo through the dimly lit passageways of the appropriately titled, “Labyrinthian Graves,” which is the group’s most epic composition yet at over 12 minutes in length. It takes time to fully explore and offers a nice contrast to the more immediate opening track. If you’re only going to put two songs on a release, this is how you do it.

This band inspires us to always look forward to what’s next from them. However, I can’t help but think of Armoured Angel, who were in a similar position twenty years ago (two impressive EPs under their belt with the potential for greatness). Just try to appreciate where Bölzer is right now and give Soma time to fully sink in. That will not lead to any disappointment, at least that much is certain.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Adam Palm
August 19th, 2014

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