Bolzer - Lese Majesty (EP)
Lightning & Sons
Epic Death Metal
4 songs (29:25)
Release year: 2019
Official Bandcamp
Reviewed by Goat

Swiss duo Bölzer have been turning heads for years now, their grandiose brand of death metal quickly gaining fans with such powerful tunes as Entranced by the Wolfshook and just as quickly losing them with the downright bizarre full-length Hero that relied more on kooky clean singing and almost Mastodon-y sludge than the epic riffs that made their name initially (though it is worth mentioning that on revisiting for this review it's better than first impressions, so if you were put off the band by it do give it another try!). So new material subsequently was going to be a gamble for fans and it's terrific to be able to report that the band are closer to what they're best at, even as they've incorporated those clean vocals. This EP (their third) is opened by A Shepherd In Wolven Skin, a nine-minute death metal epic mostly driven by riffs as excellent as we've come to expect, and the relief you feel on hearing the opening snarl from vocalist/guitarist KzR is palpable, not least given the usage of almost Tom G Warrior-esque grunts here and there. Sure, there are clean vocals but they work tremendously, adding a touch of atmospheric spookiness to the otherwise grand death metal battery, and feeling very much removed from the Hero-ic oddness. And even some whistling feels appropriate rather than odd!

A reassuring release then, to calm easily startled fanboy nerves? Maybe. The brief interlude Aestivation is all synths and deranged yelling, the only real skippable track present, yet Into the Temple of Spears feels like a bitesize version of the band's death metal sound (at "only" six minutes long) with both more melody in both riffs and sung hooks, and a bit more blackened brutality in the blasting drums (which HzR performs terrifically, need it be said, one of the more underrated sticksmen in the business). And EP-closing epic Ave Fluvius! Danú Be Praised! is an initially slower, slightly more doomy take on their death metal style, with plenty of grandiosity packed in (how could it not be, with a title like that...! *two* exclamation marks and all!) from trading clean and harsh vocals before upping the pace and allowing just a little of that weird, Mastodon-y prog that coloured Hero in, ending with a switch to ambience. And it all works perfectly, which is so wonderful to be able to relate! Part of the angst of reviewing bands is when you genuinely want them to succeed in their odd little experiments, rooting for their musical success, and it's one of life's little joys to be able to state that finally, it seems that Bölzer are learning to incorporate their weirder, more experimental tendencies into their expertise for epic death metal, resulting in a sound even more unique and compelling. Sure, they haven't beaten Wolfshook yet, but Lese Majesty reinvigorates the otherwise dashed faith that they might, and those who loved Soma and Aura can have hope again.

Killing Songs :
A Shepherd In Wolven Skin, Ave Fluvius! Danu Be Praised!
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Bolzer that we have reviewed:
Bolzer - Soma reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Bolzer - Aura reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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