26 Jun 2021 - Simon
post metal, progressive metal | Deathwish Records | Release date: 18 Jun 2021
A rousing, triumphant return for Kent band Bossk which sees them delve into deeper, textured sonic territory and emerge all the better for it
Five years is a long time to wait for anything, especially when it’s an album which you are very much looking forward to. The sophomore full length album Migration by Kent five-piece post-everything band Bossk is an album which, for various reasons, has taken them five years to release. It’s also one of the most anticipated albums of the year, but how is it I hear you ask? Well, first some background. Before the album was released, the band realised that front man Sam Marsh was not going to be available to do the vocals on the new album, this presented the band with a challenge on how to proceed; they took that challenge and turned it to their advantage by inviting guest vocalists onto the album, who give the album a distinct sonic lilt it might not have had otherwise. Japanese experimentalists Endon also have their fingerprints across the entire album with their contribution of glitchy static, garbled vocal samples and mixed radio signals, it’s truly beguiling and greatly adds to the other-worldly feel.
Bossk have always been masters of blending the dark and light which is the calling card of any post-what-have-you band. On this album they have gone exploring, not just sonically but also to the outer reaches of the cosmos to create this monolithic album. The blending of other genres into this album is much more prominent than in previous releases as evidenced by the stronger use of atmospherics, vocal samples and electronic elements. These are not mere flourishes but are deeply interwoven into the very fabric of their sound creating a sonic tapestry which will lift you up into the heavens with cosmic wonder before flattening you with a meteor of heaviness.
Opener “White Stork” is a delicate, pulsating track with dreamlike electronica and almost trip-hop sounding percussion - it’s a bold move from the band but one which pays off as it draws you in immediately so that you become invested on the journey you are about to undertake. That journey turns sludgy when it leads seamlessly into next track “Menhir” which explodes in a wall of sound with Johannes’ instantly recognisable growl bellowing over the pounding tar thick miasma of sonic depravity. It’s also the least interesting song on the album, which is saying something when you have a song which is THIS GOOD being the low point of the album.
Next song “HTV-3” introduces next vocalist Josh McKeown (from Palm Reader) and it’s from here on out that the album truly begins to blossom outwards and start exploring new territories and textures. The juxtaposition of his ethereal cleans and guttural, almost shouted, growls meshing with the stunning ambiance and almost Post-Hardcore-style guitar make for a stirring, rousing song.
The rest of the album is all instrumental but that’s not to say the quality dips, oh no, it just keeps getting better. Penultimate song “Lira” is a stunning, slow burn which seems to encapsulate everything the band have done up to this point and to condense it into a singularity of dense sonic awe, the dynamic ebb and flow is truly memorable and when the song gets heavy, it’s like being flattened by a mountain. It might well be the best thing they’ve ever written. This song flows wonderfully into the uplifting, gorgeous “Unberth” which utilises programmed drums and crystallises into a triumphant guitar passage which is like breaking through the clouds into glorious uninterrupted sunlight; it’s emotional and much like the best desserts after a stunning meal, a sumptuous way to end proceedings.
Bossk have never been about individual elements, and this album emphasizes that, it really should be listened to, and taken as, a whole entity. It’s in this regard that the album establishes itself as a truly standout example of transcendent wonder (with crushing riffs obviously!) It’s going to take something pretty special for this album to be knocked off my favourite albums of the year; it’s utterly, gloriously magnificent.