Bölzer Lese Majesty

Bölzer Lese Majesty
8
While not a full album, Bölzer glaze the end of the year with a fantastic reminder of their unmatched presence, christening their self-run label, Lightening & Sons, with densely packed EP, Lese Majesty.
 
Bölzer are arguably one of the unique-sounding bands going in extreme metal today. They are able to craft, with the brick and mortar of black metal, a magnificent construct that is not only enthralling, but uplifting — even positive in moments of harmony within "Into the Temple of Spears" — all without losing the primal impact. Drummer Fabian Wyrsch provides a tribal foundation that eschews a need for intense speed in favour of an unceasing trot that often breaks into a proud gallop.
 
One of the key points of contention between fans concerns "clean" vocals that began to take heavy prominence in Bölzer's last full-length, Hero. The melodic vocal approach remains in Lese Majesty, but to a lesser degree. Vocalist/guitarist Okoi Jones uses his simultaneously harmonious and ragged voice like a weapon of precious intensity and impressive range, using it in spare moments between expansive hymnals of feral howling.
 
While some would call it a step back to their beginnings, before the change in vocal styles, it only does justice to Jones's voice, giving his eloquent intonations a sharper cut, and seems more like a deliberate artistic choice. The result, unsurprisingly, is fantastic.
 
The days of Roman Acupuncture are behind them, but not forgotten. Moments of particular intensity peek through in Lese Majesty that betray the band's earlier, blackened death roots. In fact, in could be argued that Lese Majesty has more in common with early Bölzer than Hero, effectively balancing two faces of one being. (Independent)