Bölzer - Soma EP (2014)
Review by Trevor Proctor
Formed in 2008, Switzerland’s Bölzer have been gathering critic and fan based acclaim steadily since the release of their demo “Roman Acupuncture” in 2012; this rise to prominence was accelerated significantly when their debut MLP “Aura” came out via Iron Bonehead Productions in May 2013 - a release that hailed a mountain of praise from all quarters.
Bolzer is a two piece based in Zurich that plays top-notch underground death metal with more than a smattering of uniqueness thrown in for good measure; August of this year sees the release of their highly anticipated Soma EP which is due to be released on Dublin’s outstanding Invictus Productions label - home to the likes of Sheol, Malthusian, Tribulation and Zom - to name but a few. Bölzer’s reputation has also been greatly enhanced by legendary live shows including two at this year’s fabled Maryland Deathfest and thankfully the remaining part of this year will also see a number of live performances across festivals and clubs – one of which will be a support slot in Dublin with The Ruins of Beverast on the 29th of November.
With regards to Soma, Bolzer has stated it “consists of two odes to the goddess Luna, set amidst a thematic backdrop of war and the surrender of the fleshly temple.” To say Bolzer was under pressure with Soma is quite the understatement - yet within an EP lasting just under twenty minutes they have met and surpassed all expectations.
Soma features two tracks, Steppes and Labyrinthian Graves; the first of which has been available to stream since April – it’s the shorter of the two and picks up the pace where Aura left off; obliterating everyone and everything in its tracks. Clocking in at just over five and a half minutes it’s a savage, turbulent beast of a track that grips you from the opening vocal to its thundering conclusion - pure underground churning death metal that snares your attention with its ever shifting time patterns and swirling death metal assault – a brief yet destructive foray into the world of Bolzer.
Labyrinthian Graves is another entity altogether, at close to twelve and a half minutes it’s a track that sees Bolzer surprise and astound the listener with every twist and turn during this epic journey into their underground world. Starting on a slightly less aggressive note than Steppes not only is this track Bolzer’s longest it’s also one of their best, using the longer duration to showcase their unique, morphing, twisting death metal.
Harrowing, pained spoken vocals punctuate the background of swirling, unique, ever-changing death – if this track doesn’t grip you and at least get the head nodding there’s something seriously wrong with you. Bolzer’s ever changing dynamics along with catchy riffs and hooks add to their individuality but at just over nine minutes they pull the ultimate surprise by dropping the heaviness and launch into three minutes worth of spacey, trippy effects – a perfect complement to the heaviness and further proof of their willingness to break from the pack by pulling off the unexpected.
Occasionally bands struggle to live up to glories and expectations generated from previous releases but I’m glad to say this is definitely not the case with Soma – Bolzer have shown the magnificence achieved with Aura was no fluke and have followed it with a release that surpasses their own significant reputation - this is an EP that will satisfy the most ardent fan or critic. Testimony to the significance and popularity of Bolzer is the fact Invictus Productions sold out their first press within 3 days of it being listed on their site as a pre-order; however fear not as Iron Bonehead and other distributors are due to receive stock of the first press and Invictus Productions has already ordered another re-press.
Invictus Productions are a bit like Iron Bonehead Productions in that they just don’t do bad releases; with this being further proof (as if we needed it) of this fact. There may be a few whingers somewhere claiming the EP could have been longer in duration but I totally disagree with this; with Soma Bolzer have delivered the goods, lived up to their growing reputation and left listeners craving more - job well and truly done in my opinion.
1 - Steppes
2 - Labyrinthian Graves
Bölzer's Soma EP is released by Invictus Productions on Cd and Cassette on 5th August 2014.