Boss Keloid might not be a household name, but thanks to their incredible third album Melted On The Inch, they damn well could be before long. This album represents not only a step up in their quality, but also a massive maturing of their sound. With Melted On The Inch, they’ve evolved their sound, to separate them from the Mastodon copy cats of the world, and crafting something that I, someone who doesn’t actually care too much for Mastodon, can enjoy front to back.
Starting my Boss Keloid journey back to front, I’ve found a huge appreciation for this albums unique layers, which not only lighten the mood of the album, drawing a far cry to the less varied and sometimes droney output in Herb Your Enthusiasm. That being said, the band have kept the heaviness alive and kicking, so fans of their previous efforts don’t have to hear because there’s still a really meaty layer of sound that’s used.
The palette on sound on offer can be found spreaded throughout the brilliant opener “Chronosiam”. It has an epic feel to it during its climaxes, which is offset by ska / reggae influences at parts and some unbelievable vocal hooks, something I didn’t really pick up in their previous efforts. Going back to that epic feel, the depth of sound compared to their last is astounding, a testament to the glorious mixing that the band had done on the record. The walls of fuzz which follow the almost odd pedal effects of the bands guitars are perfectly aligned and get you banging your head in no time.
And going back also to the vocal performance, lets just get one thing straight. Alex Hurst fucking slays on this album. Sure, on Herb he had a uniquely powerful, if not clichéd metal vocal style. But on Melted his range goes from 40 percent cool to 100. It’s absolutely nuts how hooky it is, but also how wide his range goes. Brilliant chants, soaring cleans and flashes of aggression which feel powerful, gripping and engaging. Find the full catalogue of his vocal styles on track 2, “Tarku Shovel”.
The track names get weirder throughout the album if you thought that was odd, but none lack quality. There are only 6 tracks which launches on Holy Roar this week, but each sits at 5-8 minutes apiece, and each is packed full of sweet melodies for the punters to absorb. Something new for listeners will be the weirdly tuned guitars and heavy synths which accompany them. Jump into “Jromalih” for a real showcase of this. The mental synths create a super trippy atmosphere, interjected with bouts of heavy fuzz and Dio-esqe vocals that put this ahead as one of my favourites.
A question which I have kept asking myself through the multitude of play-throughs I’ve run, is whether Boss Keloid have actually carved a sub-genre out for themselves. It’s doom, it’s sludge, it’s metal, it’s prog, but it doesn’t fit with any of those in the classical sense. Sometimes I get Pallbearer, sometimes I get Sunnata, I even get tastes of Amplifier at times. What is for sure is that it’s a journey worth embarking on, one that would pair well with anything from video games to a garden party (for those so inclined). I’m certainly going to be picking up a copy on release to blast in the car on long journeys too thanks to its summery vibe, something you couldn’t really imagine describing a doom record as.
Are there flaws? Maybe in some of the repetitive parts, which sometimes aren’t engaging, but it’s a strong contender for album of the year for me, one which has grown on me with each listen. The songs are engaging, dramatic and really fun, something I truly wasn’t expecting when I picked up this record. Across the board I’ve seen plaudits for this album, and I’m really excited to catch Boss Keloid at ArcTangent Festival this August, that is if I don’t see them prior. It’s an exciting venture into new territories of sonic enjoyment, and I’m really pleased to have spent so long lapping up its luscious vibes. Get this in your ears when it drops, it’s a wonderful way to brighten up your day, whilst adding heaps of heavy to it at the same time.
FFO: Mastodon, Pallbearer, Amplifier
Notable tracks: “Chronosiam”, “Tarku Shovel”, “Jromalih”.