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Bossk - Migration (Album Review)

Friday, 18 June 2021 Written by Sam Sleight

Bossk’s ‘Audio Noir’ is a modern classic in the post-metal underground. A bold statement, perhaps, but the seven tracks that made up the band’s 2016 debut stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Cult of Luna, Russian Circles and Neurosis’ output in recent years, speaking volumes about their quality.

Bossk’s output—one full-length and a couple of EPs—has been sporadic but bulletproof. The tours they have been a part of and the artists they have been embraced by, meanwhile, suggest a level of respect among their peers that filters into their new album ‘Migration’, which is in part a celebration of Bossk’s history as they hurtle into the future.

Cult of Luna and Palm Reader vocalists Johannes Persson and Josh McKeown drop in to add further heft to proceedings, with Persson’s turn on Menhir feeling as though he is bringing all of Luna’s energy and raw power to the table.

Bossk adapt their sludgy nous to suit him but Mckeown is a more natural fit, acting as a part of the outfit rather than directing proceedings. 

As good as these moments are, though, the absence of Bossk vocalist Sam Marsh can be felt on ‘Migration’. On one hand the lack of his inimitable screaming leaves the record missing a key ingredient. But on the other hand, the soundscapes crafted by the band and Koki Miyabi, Taro Aiko and Etsuo Nagura of Endon are so rich and lustrous that there is little space for Marsh to have made a dent.

Sonically the record straddles the line between the moribund and the celebratory. Where interludes Iter and Kibo are sanguine and introspective the finale, Lira, features a riff so seismic it ranks among the best moments of Bossk’s career. It is an apt and satisfying full stop on this chapter. 

Another key element is the album’s structure, and Bossk’s commitment to that facet of long-form music making. There are only four “proper” tracks here, with three segues of varying length. But here’s no cynicism, no vying for space on lucrative playlists, just a single cohesive piece that stands proud.

While ‘Migration’ doesn’t land as instantaneously as ‘Audio Noir’ did, there is so much to dig into here as a listener. The electronics of Unberth point to a band ready to push their experimental boundaries further as they continue their career and imply Bossk will not be trading off former glories any time soon.

Bossk Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun December 12 2021 - NOTTINGHAM Bodega Social Club
Mon December 13 2021 - BRISTOL Exchange
Tue December 14 2021 - BIRMINGHAM Mama Roux's
Wed December 15 2021 - LONDON Garage
Thu December 16 2021 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Fri December 17 2021 - MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sat December 18 2021 - GLASGOW Ivory Blacks

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