Boss Keloid - Herb Your Enthusiasm
It’s tempting within the rock/metal press when writing about such a vigorous and refreshingly unique album to express something overly crass or oafish like - “it’s so fucking brilliant I punted my Nan down the stairs, then my head exploded with bulleted confetti because my brain was wanking so ferociously over guitar riffs so monstrous that it made ISIS seem like slightly short-tempered Teletubbies.” Nonetheless, the second album from Wigan based Metal band Boss Keloid raises a lot of questions to the listener such as "Why have I never heard of this band?", "Has anything this cool ever happened before in Wigan?" and "Is this Doom? Sludge? Progressive Mystic-Spiritual Alternative Power Pseudo-Dance Thrash?". These questions don’t necessarily need answering, but with a bit of research you’ll find that Herb Your Enthusiasm may be the sweetest thing to come out of Wigan since Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls.
Like all great rock records, the opening two tracks are pretty flawless and demonstrate a mature and robust sound that is a gleaming introduction to a band you’re probably listening to for the first time. Lung Mountain is a classic opener, exhibiting top class musical dynamics assisted by a monstrous vocal attack from Alex Hurst. He sounds like a combination of Mike Patton and Buzz Osborne, and the song peaks with a beautifully haunting vocal attack with Jon Davis from Conan assisting with the gnarly gang harmonies. Haarlem Struggle is even possibly a better song, beginning with acoustic guitars before launching into a mid tempo psychedelic jam. Midway through the track, the band steps up a gear and embarks upon a dramatic shift in pace that concludes with an absolute Two-Tonne-Tony of a guitar riff at the end.
The opening two tracks are a fair representation of the album as a whole - a hugely ambitious piece of work, which confidently swaggers along with vast amounts of groove and dynamics. Musically the band sounds like The Melvins with touches of Faith No More and Black Sabbath whilst introducing quirky mystical guitar lines that are reminiscent of Stoner-Doom outfit Om and the German Alternative-Metal duo Beehoover.
As the album cover and title suggest this band are not going to take themselves too seriously, which is largely refreshing within a genre that has a frustrating knack for doing so. Yes, this album has enough puns to give 2016 UK Pun Champion Masai Graham AKA General Punochet a pun for his money. Highatus and Herb Your Enthusiasm are about as good as stoner puns get. Stoners were never notorious for their lightening wit or rapacious ability to passionately dance with words, but the marijuana-themed wordplay on this album is still entertaining. These guys definitely aren’t one… hit… wonders? If you don’t like stoner puns you’re ganja… have… a… bad… time. However, Boss Keloid couldn’t have set… the… bar… higher? I don’t know who within the band decided to pursue this theme, but surely it was a joint decision. Shameful really isn’t it?
Other dope moments on this record include Axis Green, a colossal track which showcases the band’s brilliant musical relationship, and the penultimate track Shabal which has a brilliant vocal roar of “YOU REACH FOR NOTHING, JUST TO GIVE MEANING TO LIFE.” The production on Herb Your Enthusiasm is polished, pristine and rather immaculate for a modern metal release, provided by Chris Fielding and James Plotkin (Conan, Electric Wizard, Isis) which encourages repeated listens in which new things are discovered each and every time. It must be said this record is surprisingly brilliant for a contemporary British Metal band, with such excellent song writing and musicianship it is incomparable to anything else at the moment and staking a huge claim of potentially outshining everything else to be released this year.