Bölzer Hero

Bölzer Hero
8
"Where is the lightning that would lick you with its tongue?"
 
Like a flash of lightning, Bölzer stormed the underground in 2012 with the demo Roman Acupuncture, and by 2014, with only two additional EPs, consolidated their burgeoning reputation as one of extreme metal's most innovative and unconventional bands. Their early opus, "Entranced by the Wolfshook," displayed a unique and idiosyncratic style of heavy riffing, and a 10-string guitar as benefactor, that made the Swiss duo sound as heavy as a legion's footfalls.
 
Anticipation for their first LP, Hero, couldn't have been stronger, but it delivers, in spades. It's an impassioned, esoteric journey through mythic themes and archetypes, with the hero urbild as nucleus and igniter. Though stylistically not so different than earlier output (see "The Great Unifier"), clean singing sets Hero apart characteristically, especially given the degree to which KzR employs a reverbed croon. Undoubtedly some audiences will be perturbed by the new vocal direction, but "The Archer" depicts just how successful and emotive a walk outside the marketplace can be.
 
The album is not as deep of a riff-o-rama as some preceding titles; this appears to be the consequence of building content — like "Hero" or "I Am III" — out of the tension and release between the interplay of the newer vocal styling and its pronounced melodies. Nevertheless, the more riff-absorbed tracks, such as "Phosphor" and "Spiritual Athleticism" showcase that Bölzer are still among the most gifted riff writers nowadays. Few bands could manage to live up to such a celebrated career established prior to a first full-length, but Bölzer are, thankfully, an abnormal entity. (Iron Bonehead)