There’s melody, there’s brutality, and then there’s Bosse-de-Nage. The California heavy metal outfit’s 2018 release Further Still doesn’t just weave in and out of the two extremes, sprinkling a little bit of each ingredient across the record but never letting them co-exist. The band has instead crafted something that feels, at first listen, completely different. Atop an inescapable and near-endlessly bubbling stew of furiously pounding metal, the band allows isolated melodic ideas to take center stage. Both gentleness and fury are, in a sense, at play at the same time.
Also at the same time, the band’s vocalist offers his take on the whole mixture, telling a story — or rather, a series of stories — that at times commands the listener’s attention and at others meshes with the rest of the work. The vocalist has liberated story-telling vocals from the confines of, well, telling a story and allowed them to contribute to the (pleasantly) exhausting ethereal nature of the band’s work as a whole.
He sings about mystical tales of screams turning into visible floating discs and invisible deadly shrouds and old beings for some reason content with being locked away underground. The stories, while maintaining elements that connect them to our experiences outside of the confines of the record, are, in a word, wild. Further Still isn’t a documentary.
That aspect of the band’s work helps explain it as a whole. Although there are familiar elements at play — furious metal, catchy melodic ideas, and the like — the band turns everything up to 100. The musical concepts on the album are at once familiar and foreign.
In that way, the record is like a portal that draws in the listener and transports them to a new understanding of just what metal can be. The relentless band doesn’t sound interested in exploring the complexities of metal that are solely tied to our existences outside of music; instead, they want — it seems — to go as far as they can down the path that their musical ambition takes them. The band sounds intent on going further still, and considering the complexities of sound captured on their new record with the same name, they’ve accomplished that and then some.
Listen to a single below. The full record is out via The Flenser on September 14, 2018.