Bolzer - Soma
Invictus Productions
Blackened Death Metal
2 songs (18:36)
Release year: 2014
Official Bandcamp, Invictus Productions
Reviewed by Goat

It feels strange describing underground death metal as a 'smash hit' but the amount of hype thrown at Swiss duo Bölzer after last year's Aura EP certainly warranted it. The second coming of Christ (or the metal equivalent, Chuck Schuldiner) wouldn't have seen such rapture from certain parts of the metalsphere, which raised the eyebrows of the cynical such as myself. Still, you have to admit, as I did, that Bölzer were onto something special with Aura, something that mixed cavernous death metal with esoteric atmosphere to enjoyable – and, what's more important, original – effect. It's not really a surprise to the cynical part of me that the band are making us wait for a full-length album, instead providing a two-song EP as a follow-up; still, the part of me that loves metal and wants it to succeed in providing continuous quality is delighted. And the drip-drip approach is clearly working for Bölzer, as Soma is a great little EP with two tracks that only add to the growing legend.

Opener Steppes is very much in the line of last year's Entranced by the Wolfshook, a twisting yet surprisingly infectious death metal track that proves more progressive than it first seems as the black metal elements come in and out of focus. With a Bathory-esque grandeur and those gnarly riffs working their way deep into your brain, it's an example of just how talented Bölzer are at the songwriting game. The following Labyrinthian Graves is over twice as long, and takes a different route – even more focused on the atmospheric elements of the band's sound, black metal takes the helm initially. It's just as gripping, but with fewer hook riffs to grab your ears seems somewhat lesser than Steppes. Yet it'll keep your ears pinned back as it grows more ferocious and the riffs start to form those well-hewn shapes; the track slowly moving away from black metal as it progresses, making for a hypnotic twelve minutes and fading into ambience.

It remains to be seen where Bölzer take their exciting brand of metal next; that they're beginning to run into controversy suggests that they're successful enough for people to take an interest in them, a la Inquisition. (Sadly, being asked about your potentially dodgy views is a rite of passage for underground metal bands in our modern age where why you do it is as interesting as what you do – personally, I'm convinced by Bölzer's denials.) Apparently a full-length is planned for next year, a further benchmark of success and downright instant classic if this level of quality is maintained. Here's hoping for further greatness!

Killing Songs :
Both are grand, but Steppes takes the prize
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Bolzer that we have reviewed:
Bolzer - Lese Majesty (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Bolzer - Aura reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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