|» Cd reviews||
It is amazing how quickly groundbreaking acts are expected by the fans to stop evolving and simply stagnate and keep playing whatever made them popular in the first place. I willingly confess to being equally guilty of this as the next metal fan (my distaste for Morbid Angel's 'Illud ' is profound). For Bölzer, this trend began pretty much with their second EP 'Soma'.
The puritans who strictly worshipped the debut EP 'Aura' complained about 'Soma' not living up to those standards. This caused a bit of a stir, but it is nothing compared to the shit storm that is about to hit the fan as Bölzer's debut full-length 'Hero' starts making its mark.
'Hero' is indeed a rather curious creation and it will definitely take a while for fans of Bölzer to wrap their heads and minds around it. In a sense this album is what could be expected of Bölzer, the unique riffing style and drumming is definitely there. On the other hand, the band has evolved in a direction that was very difficult to predict as just a continuation of 'Aura' and 'Soma'.
Besides a near obsessively clean production, the band has incorporated clean vocals to a generally more stripped down sound. The clean vocals are bordering on absolutely horrible on the one hand and brilliant on the other. Somehow they do the perfect job of bringing forth the atmosphere of the barren sound presented on 'Hero'. The roots of the music are still to be found right between death and black metal, but on 'Hero' it has evolved beyond the dogmatic features of these genres.
Bölzer's previous EPs did a terrific job in challenging the mood of the listener. On 'Hero' the music not only challenges the mind, but also offers remedy to the heart and soul of the listener. It is difficult to pinpoint which changes are most crucial to achieve this and which changes are instrumental in taking Bölzer to this new level in musical innovation. Bölzer has shown before that bending the rules of death and black metal is possible. This time around they bend it to the point of breaking, but somehow it holds and emerges even stronger.
As a whole, 'Hero' is a difficult piece to fully understand.
I can see why many of the old fans feel let down and betrayed, but somehow
these unexpected changes feel natural and partly even necessary. For
those who can swallow their confusion and disappointment, 'Hero' sure
has plenty to offer. This is one of those rare albums that has the potential
to be remembered as a true milestone in ten years or so.