Bossk’s sophomore effort, Migration, comprises a series of post-metal soundscapes, divided by often ghastly riffs and soaring, beautiful harmonics. Returning after five years without a release is a long time, but that gap has yielded clear growth for the band, and with their return comes a refinement of their sound.
Bossk’s attention to cinematic, genre-defying soundscapes is still omnipresent throughout. The band crafts pockets of mystery, evocative enough to capture the understated graces of composers like Angelo Badalamenti on a track such as “White Stork,” with its languishing, watery guitar tones. While it lacks the tenderness of that composer’s efforts, the sense of mystery, and above all sense of place, is heard throughout. That sense of place culminates in an organic electronic suite that the group revisits throughout the album, a curious but powerful motif.
On lead single “Menhir,” Bossk relish in prog tendencies, attending to the track’s sludge-tinted mayhem with both ambition and a sonic palette that feels refined. Bossk are just as comfortable with lurching, crushing sludge riffs as they are with lush, cosmic progressions of soaring tremolo bar antics and warm harmonics. However, they will absolutely dry gulch you with a hidden power chord, tucked away, nestled deep within a track, waiting for listeners to feel secure.
Composition wise, Bossk are entirely in their element here, this album at least a refinement, if not direct progression of their debut LP Audio Noir. There are as many big, nearly unwieldy tracks as there are small experimental compositions of scratchy, textured walls of noise, functioning like a short, intense puzzle before developing a larger impression of the band’s true skills. It’s nothing new, bands do this all the time, but it’s the fidelity and intensity that Bossk employ that makes it interesting.
There are some other surprises throughout, like the clean vocals that crop up throughout, shoegaze-style imposed bits that don’t last terribly long, but are just about as surprising as you’d expect. Vocal patterns here aren’t neglected either, there’s metalcore gang-style barks as well, because, why not? It works, building on Bossk’s commitment to contextualize the full spectrum of their influences and approaches into a journey for the listener that is an authentic representation of who they are. There is intent here, and it makes all the difference.
There is however, a question if these stylistic oscillations work at the rate in which they appear, and with rare exception they do. The mixing is particularly pristine, with low end bass and percussion grasping at your ribs while everything else sits properly balanced in both channels. Closing track “Lira” remains the greatest treatise of Bossk’s sound and focus on Migration, a sprawling, nine-minute, post-metal epic that feels earned. Its pacing and three-part structure is an intense and sometimes unwieldy affair, but that makes it all the better when it comes together.
Migration is a blueprint for a promising future, or perhaps a coda to a sound that has already passed Bossk by. It’s difficult to say for certain, but what’s here is at times rapturous, and at times challenging the potential of what post-rock and metal can be.
Label: Deathwish Inc.