Does six tracks constitute an album these days?
Usually, no. When they’re all about 7 minutes long and ‘Melted On The Inch’ clocks in at 41 minutes anyway, I guess we can let those lazy Boss Keloid slow-and-heavy Stoners steal a march on us.
Opener ‘Chronosium’ begins on a suspiciously optimistic note, a jiggy little moment that one might cautiously unbox the morris dancing gear to, were it not for the ominous, looming feel of the drums threatening to wade in. It breaks into the first massive soundscape of the record. Think the kind of racket you might use to soundtrack a mountain range, a thick interweaving of rhythm and dense guitar tones, overlaying vocals hollered from the highest peaks. In true Boss Keloid fashion, it takes a couple of minutes to break into the track proper, ebbing to allow some vocal and guitar intricacies and oddities to fold seamlessly into the driving heaviness.
The band have commented on the twisting nature of the dynamic throughout ‘Melted On The Inch’, claiming
For us, Melted On The Inch is a strong progression from Herb Your Enthusiasm. It draws from a much wider pond of influence than our previous. It is more progressive, more uplifting, more melancholic, more emotional, more dynamic, there is a greater emphasis on light and shade, it is heavier, it is more delicate, it has more beauty, it has more darkness.
This is self-evident in the interesting production techniques. It’s a multifaceted approach, often evolving over the course of the track with everything from clean and untainted, which second track ‘Tarku Shavel’ employs in spades with harmonies, to roared aggression, to moments of experimentation. Towards the latter end of ‘Chronosium’ (we’ll call it the later-mid bit of the 7-minute track, shall we) there’s a section combines the buzz of distortion with Alex’s gruff vocals to produce an effect that almost mimics throat singing. It’s a bit mesmerizing, to tell you the truth. ‘Jromalih’ similarly pushes the envelope, with a percussive opening breaking out into a melodic synth and guitar interplay, heralding an increased fascination with intriguing synths from the Wigan five-piece which continues to ebb and flow throughout the album.
All of this adds up to a sound increasingly hard to define. I’ve had the opportunity to see Boss Keloid progress to where they are now, and while for me they’ve always managed to avoid the “I listen to Black Sabbath too” approach to the Stoner arts, the journey for me has been in exactly how they’ve approached making music. 2013’s ‘The Calming Influence of Teeth’, for example, is an album which simultaneously sets the scene for their later work but also screams of influences from Hardcore and Thrashier roots. A different kind of heaviness.
I guess you could say they’ve settled down. The pace is less frantic (apart from where it needs to be) and the emphasis has shifted to the careful construction of their sound, overseen by the hand of their peerless new label Holy Roar. The quiet moments that make the break-out into a driven section all the more potent. There’s a Progressive aspect counterpointed by the wanton hand of Doom. And all the tracks have weird names (again).
What’s that all about?