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It shall echo in eternity! - 95%

dismember_marcin, September 19th, 2014

Sometimes it’s good to listen to what the crowd has to say. At least in this case it paid off. Everywhere I looked I could only read how awesome is this new Swiss band called Bölzer, how unconventional take on death metal they offer and simply that their EP “Aura” is a fuckin shredder and best debut in years. Yeahhh… I was not so eager to check it at first, but this name was just coming back all the time, so finally I surrendered, checked couple of songs and the same day I ordered the vinyl. Yes, I also became addicted to Bölzer, all these opinions were absolutely right – this band IS one of a kind and their music sounds exceptional. And believe me, once I putted this vinyl on the player, it did not leave it for couple of weeks, so good it turned out to be. Yeah, absolutely magnificent job, so thanks to Iron Bonehead for unveiling this band into our world and spreading this pestilence!

Now, what’s so special about Bölzer? Well, I guess everyone should just listen to their music themselves to discover it, to find out how infectious and possessing these sounds are. Obviously I am sort of a reviewer, so I must try to recommend some good music to those, who never had a chance to hear it – or the opposite; to tell you if something’s shit… if my opinion would matter at all. As mentioned, my opinion on “Aura” is only super positive. This EP do not let you walk away easily and drags attention like the light drags moths! And the main secret, in my opinion, about Bölzer are the totally amazing riffs, which the band plays and which I think sound quite original – as I just can’t put one or two bands, which would play something similar! These riffs along with possessed, howling voices create an atmosphere of mysticism, epic and monumental (as majestic as the fuckin Ancient Rome!!!), but also dark and haunting. And you can probably call it a mixture of black and death metal, some reviewers throw into the description also sludge, even post metal (!), but I suppose the influence of both first mentioned styles had a strongest impact on Bölzer… But it is still not enough to call it just that, I repeat: you must listen to this music carefully to truly discover its essence and supreme feeling. It’s not something what has been explored countless times before, I think that this truly is one of the most original sounding bands of the recent years. Sure, there are around bands like Mitochondrion, Necros Christos, Grave Miasma and so on and on, which may have some similar patterns used here and there, but Bölzer is not alike any of them.

Two songs on side A are simply perfect and leave me speechless… every time I listen to “C.M.E.” and “Entranced by the Wolfshook” I am feeling like in trance, hypnotized by the excellent powerful riffs and howls of KzR. They’re mixing fast and vicious riffs with some doomy parts, but it always sounds just exceptionally good. And so damn dark! And “The Great Unifier” on side B is walking similar path to such Triptykon and is just eerie, doomy, sinister, ominous… It is a 10 minutes long anthem, but there’s so much variety in it, so many different things are going on in this song… in each of them, actually, so in the end I can’t even choose my fave track, all are just superb. And it is getting even better with every listen. This is certainly the best thing, which Switzerland has spawned since the 80’s and early 90’s, so the most glorious days of Celtic Frost and Samael. And it shall echo in eternity!

Standout tracks: ALL
Final rate: 95/100

mass ejaculation - 93%

RapeTheDead, June 17th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, Necroshrine Records

I'm always searching for something genuinely original in metal. There's a lot of people out there who seem to think that metal has explored all the possible venues it can and that it can't go any further, but there are people who have made that claim at all points in history. There's always strange new paths that can be taken and entirely new genres that can be formed through careful tinkering and blending of genres that have already been established; that's how new music is made, after all. There are always certain riff patterns and melodic textures that haven't been thoroughly combined and explored even though they're ever-present in music of prior bands. There's a lot of hype over Bolzer, and they've only shared a few songs with us so far at the time of this writing, with a new EP looming on the horizon that, from what I can tell, is exploring "side B" of the duality contained within Bolzer's music. I guess I'm to assume that this is side A? The light to Soma's darkness? It would seem that is the case, because Aura contains within it an eerie sense of melody that almost seems to glow in the hollow chasm that is the music surrounding it. This magic little touch (along with a few other quirks here and there) that makes Aura a big ol' breath of fresh air in metal.

But where is this mysterious melody coming from? There's a seamless blend of thicker, punkier black metal and spastic but still punishing Nuclear-War-Now-esque death metal, and those two styles alone could fairly adequately cover the full range of bands Bolzer draws influence from, but so many other characteristics rise seemingly out of nowhere. The putrid guitar tone combined with the ethereal atmosphere almost gives off a Neurosis or Ufomammut sort of atmospheric vibe, but it seems to arise out of the combination of the elements at play as opposed to any individual factor per se. Aura reminds you of the thickest guitar tones you've ever heard, but the music is not designed with that as the focal point. There's much more memorability gained by the way Bolzer manipulates and combines this heavy base with everything else going on to make things much more memorable.

So what do the riffs actually sound like then? Well, their black metal side can somewhat be reminiscent of Inquisition at times because of the way the riffs seamlessly bend in the higher-note melodies and also in how they warp effortlessly into the chasmatic death metal--although Inquisition warped into riffs thrashier than the grimy death metal present on Aura. Instead, Bolzer's lower-end riffs remind me of something like Revenge if you removed all the grind influence and gave them a full body and clean, thick production. Neither of these dual aspects of the riffing ever dominates over the other in the soundscape, and an entirely new riff style emerges in the process. It's heavy, it's catchy, it's sludgy and will stay in your head but not because it's saccharine or anything; there's still tension, and most importantly, these riffs still sound like fucking RIFFS. They don't try and reinvent everyone's idea of what a riff can be. They write some good ones, work them into points in the song where they stick out, they repeat them and they contrast them with the more inaccessible aspects of the music to give it a very distinct atmosphere. It's not that hard and you can still make the music sound original in the process!

Having two members in your band seems to be the winning formula. It's easy to make the Inquisition comparison for that reason; one guy's playing the drums and giving the music the skeleton, the other colors it in with some solid riffs and vocals and it ends up sounding incredibly new because of how pure the ideas are the same way Inquisition does. A low, throaty growl fills up most of the band's vocal space, but most notably in both "C.M.E." and "The Great Unifier", a wailing yell storms its way into the music every now and then. This kind of thing usually isn't heard outside of certain forms of hardcore, but the way the yells are used as a punctuation mark brings a whole new textural feature into the music. This album is full of moments that don't really seem all that unique upon first listen, but after a few times you hear the way it's put together you find yourself angry as to why the fuck somebody didn't think of doing this before 2013. You owe it to yourself to listen to this EP - there's virtually nothing wrong with the tracks at hand here (I mean, "The Great Unifier" has its moments where it drags but that's more a personal preference than anything) and I'm almost certain a lot of the future trends in extreme metal will draw a huge amount from Aura. It signals a new direction and a fresh batch of ideas for the genre and there's only three songs so you can listen to it over and over and over and over and over again...

Bölzer - Aura-inspiring - 100%

ThrashManiacAYD, May 5th, 2014

With there being more albums I wish to check out at any given time than there are days in a year it is rare that I choose to fully investigate an EP, let alone become totally infatuated with one. But then there are few EPs I’ve ever heard that are as sensational as that of Bölzer’s ”Aura”. The Swiss duo which form this cosmic black/death act have just one previous 2012 demo to their name before this EP, which is now a year old, but you would never guess it such is the level of performance. With a name being somewhat along the lines of ‘bulldozer’ or ‘smash’ Bölzer do just that, and then some, as the three tracks in this 23-minute release feature some of the most expertly crafted and devastating riffs I’ve heard in a long time; perfect fodder for someone like I who places strong emphasis on the quality of the riff in an age where very often simple dissonance or sheer brutality are seen to suffice, depending on which side of the black/death divide you look.

As a duo not only on record but also on stage, huge emphasis is placed on the work of guitarist/vocalist KzR. The man is a beast, built like a modern day rugby player and the writer of the type of swirling, eerie, ominous riffs that were once a stock-in-trade for the likes of Morbid Angel back in the early days, which mixed with underground production values resulted (and still does) in unsettling and attention seeking music. Although built upon layered guitar tracks for much of the release there is a majestic quality to the structural composition of the riffs which lavishly fluctuate between treble induced paranoia and bass driven rumble, the changes in which can usually be heard to coincide with a variation in vocal styles also. While the man’s throaty growls are suitably hellish it’s his clean, desperate shrieks and wolfish howls that provide a fantastic means of immersion in their universe in a way I’ve heard few extreme metal vocal performances do so.

Of course when one facet is so good the remainder can be no shrinking violet - the powerfully built drummer HzR pummels away in the background and avoids the pitfalls of incessant double bass blasts, tempering his performance with a range of symbals and punchy snare rhythms that leave far more to the imagination. But really, it is all about those riffs. Where do you want to start? Try perhaps that one found around 7 minutes into “The Great Unifier” which sounds like a Roman legion on the march to victory, or the opening to “Entranced by the Wolfshook” as it circulates above like a swarm of locusts intent on deadly plague. “Coronary Mass Ejaculation” is based around a pair of riffs that harken back to Napalm Death death/grind territories, “Suffer the Children” in particular. Simply put, there is no filler, at all. A friend described them to me as like a death metal Mastodon, which from the consideration of musicianship meets songwriting I can hardly improve on.

With “Aura”, the Bölzer duo have taken the torch of black/death metal and moved it into new territories where a majestic, cosmic scope can be harnessed without the need for keyboards. Few bands have achieved such grandeur; for those that do their name stands tall in the annals of the genre. With more recent material already starting to trickle out in a subtle new direction, it may be that the brilliance of this kind is a one-off. For a release of this length, this is perfection.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net

Aura - 91%

Buarainech, January 31st, 2014

Just when the death metal landscape seemed to be stagnating along arrives a band so unique, like a bolt you might say (a rough translation of this Swiss duo's name), from the stars- a concept perfectly encapsulated on this 12” EP's cover. Bölzer's foundations seem rooted in the thick, muscular riffing of Celtic Frost, Asphyx and Incantation narrowed into a singular and bloody-minded ritualistic focus, but there is an inventive approach to songwriting and riff-construction at work here that defies any definition from lone sentences. Opening cut “C.M.E.” is an utterly demented piece of work. Even if it stayed rooted in the quite standard Incantation/Dead Congregation style of riffing that it at times displays it would stand far apart from its contemporaries thanks to those harrowing vocal gymnastics that dart between deep guttural growls, DSBM like howls and Post-Hardcore type weirdness, but the innovation does not stop there.

There frankly is no convenient comparison to liken how these guys string notes together into their hypnotic repetitive style, though many people have tried since this EP's release- Voivod get a mention as do other avant-garde acts like Deathspell Omega, Neurosis and even fellow countrymen Coroner, but none of these are adequate. Even the likes of more recent acts Mitochondrian and Antediluvian would be inappropriate matches as, although Bölzer may be described as chaotic it is a very slender, driven beam of chaos. In terms of progressive tendencies in metal right now this band certainly have their counterparts but in the true spirit of musical ingenuity there is more to isolate them from these brethren than there is to group them together.

“Entranced By Wolfshook” introduces an esoteric sort of uplifting vibe that fits perfectly with the astral theme of the sleeve artwork, and invites a comparison to American solar Black Metal two-piece Fanisk, but simultaneous it manages to be Death Metal to the bone, brandishing one of the best groovy riffs of this standout year. It is an ungodly deep and full sound to be produced by a 2-man band, but it also perhaps this fact which helps with the sense of absolute singular determination.

“The Great Unifier” is aptly titled, as for all the uniqueness and obscure genre-bending practiced by Bölzer they undeniably belong to the hordes of Death, albeit in the regal brotherhood of most sacred acts like Necros Christos, Cruciamentum and Dead Congregation who have harnessed that sickening feeling of being suspended over a yawning chasm of pure abyssal nothingness. The trademark style exhibited on the two previous tracks are honed and sharpened on this closing 10 minute outpouring and shows just how quickly Bölzer have evolved from their Roman Acupuncture demo tape to be counted amongst that highest echelon of the genre. In fact, the material on this EP is good that it is only the short duration that prevents it from bolting straight to the top chosen few albums of this year. That being said, the best is clearly yet to come for this band. [9/10]

From WAR ON ALL FRONTS A.D. 2013 zine- www.facebook.com/waronallfronts

Bolzer- Aura - 85%

stenchofishtar, October 28th, 2013

A relative newcomer to the death/black underground, Swiss duo Bolzer most certainly take some of their lineage from the original oddball aesthetes of 80′s metal, their fellow countrymen Celtic Frost and the French-Canadian quartet Voivod. For the unknowing, their moniker lifts itself from a colloquial German term along the lines of ‘a bolt’.

They already have a self-released demo, ‘Roman Acupuncture’ behind them, and now ‘Aura’ sees its release through the German label Iron Bonehead Productions. Bolzer take on a less raw production, sounding more muscular and compact, yet with a nice, spacious ambience. This ‘astral’ sound solicits a comparison to the much overlooked American act Vulpecula headed by Chuck Keller (Ares Kingdom, Order From Chaos), though Bolzer’s quite atypical, progressive use of riff structures sets them apart.

Like Inquisition, they apply dark, meticulous energy into the two piece environment, and less becomes truly more. They are tonally different, though, and the guitars are thick, rumbling and corrosive. The rhythm guitar is worked and emphasised in a similar way to how Necromantia used 8-string bass to envelope the instrumental range.

The playing style of the guitarist is highly adept and imaginative. It’s easy to discern core influences from the likes of Asphyx or Incantation, and the ‘oddball’ approach isn't too far away from the likes of modern peers Antediluvian or Mitochondrion. The rich, polyphonic, angular and expressive range reminds vaguely of Black Sabbath or Neurosis colliding with the ‘alien’ motifs of Demilich.

It makes for a bizarrely hypnotic, sometimes even uplifting listening experience, evidencing itself in the opening riff to ‘Entranced By The Wolfshook’. Along with the opening song ‘C.M.E.’ this works itself to a sharp, cataclysmic effect. The closing song, the lengthy ‘The Great Unifier’ sees this use of technique applied to a more repetitive and linear backdrop.

The drumming is very organic, well mixed and intensely kinetic, not unlike that of Chris Reifert or Fenriz but following a ritualistic, shamanistic formula. The vocals contain plenty of echo, ranging from deep, guttural mantras to more highly pitched shrieks.

This EP is an absolute gem, not staying around too long yet within it’s 23 minutes, is nothing short of epic in its expressiveness and conviction.

http://stenchofishtar.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/bolzer-aura/

Monoliths and Stars - 97%

HeySharpshooter, September 27th, 2013

Wow.

If you find yourself at a loss for words after spinning Aura, the devastating and fresh EP from Switzerland's resident warlocks Bölzer, you are certainly not alone. Aura is an album with a sound and sense of style no other has been able to obtain, and stands as one of death metal's most unique and mystifying records. It's heaviness is matched only by the controlled but adventurous creativity, and both are completely dwarfed by the sheer sonic mass of it's riffs; all a galactic force of sheer density and dynamic melody The second "Entranced by the Wolfshook" begins to soar from your speakers like a comet streaking across a blood red and black sky, leaving in it's wake ominous omens of apocalypse, you'll fully understand what you are listening to hasn't been attempted before. It's exciting, and even more so worth experiencing first hand.

Bölzer has built the very essence of Aura around brilliant guitar work and flawless song-writing. I've already described the riffs as monolithic, and to be honest there are a dozen other adjectives I could throw at them: titanic, haunting, oddly beautiful, captivating. It goes without saying that Aura is the great guitar driven album of the year, and it a swirling mass of blackened death metal which has no real analog in the rest of the scene. Aura is at it's heart a very old-school sounding album. Possessing little in the way of blast beats and no ambient keyboard or electronic noises, Aura feels like an album from the early years of death metal with it's supreme emphasis on riffs, riffs, and more riffs. Yet Aura also feels alien; it's creativity borders on dangerous and challenging to the established song-writing in the scene. Imagine Incantation and Asphyx had launched Onward to Golgotha and Last One on Earth into space, where it was discovered by an alien intelligence possessing the technology to use sound as a way to rip planets into pieces for some demented astrological property management. Imagine that they wrote their own death metal album after absorbing these albums for a decade and added their own utterly inhuman flavor to it, then sent the sheet music to Switzerland in a pod which I imagine both HzR and KzR discovered. Aura seems like their near perfect attempt to translate this inconceivable creation with pathetic human instruments.

I like the space theme here, because Aura has the sort of expansive and riff driven sound which brings to mind early post-sludge masters Neurosis and Isis and the thundering and classic domination of Celtic Frost. There are so many potential influences here, and they are all melted down and folded together to form a steel that cannot be broken; it will slice through your flesh with the ease of the metaphorical knife into the metaphorical flesh-butter. This is all aided by the perfect tendons which hold the musculature of the album together: the drumming is effective and unobtrusive, and it bears mentioning again how nice it is not being assaulted by endless blast-beats. The production is expansive, spacey and raw, yet even and incredibly full throated; Aura sounds fucking great, especially on vinyl(this is the kind of record made with wax in mind.) And the vocals are second only to the riffs in pure power and effectiveness; KzR mixes a solid guttural growl with a strong mid-register scream, but he really shines with his moaning, tortured clean yells. When KzR starts torturing his throat over this tsunami-sized riffs, it really drives home the Neurosis influence on Aura, though blackend death metal remains the core of the albums sound. This is an album which can bring together the trve and the false together for some fascinating pillow talk.

Whether listening to the gorgeous "Entranced by the Wolfshook," with its addicting and hook laden riffs full to bursting with dissonance and melody, or being crushed under the massive weight and repetition of "The Great Unifier," an unholy nightmare mash of Deathspell Omega, Incantation and Neurosis, you can feel the weight and power of each track work their way to your very core. It leads to an incredible gushing of pure metal-fucking-joy; Aura got me excited about fucking metal like I was 13 years old again and just discovering heavier music for the first time. I imagine Aura has that effect on many listeners, including putting fucking in front of metal every time you say it, write it or think it. Considering the cynicism of elder-status as a metal fan, Aura accomplished something that not a whole lot of albums accomplish. Perfection? No. Fucking metal? Verily. Experience it. I'll see you in the void.

originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/

Aura: creative oldschool death metal - 98%

Opus_Oculto, September 2nd, 2013

The amazing Aura EP from the swiss band Bölzer was able to differentiate itself amid the myriad of releases of this year for one simple feature: its innovative musicianship. Even not having anything essentially new in terms of arrangements and melodies, this is not a common EP because it succeeded perfectly in handling various musical elements typical of death and black metal into a work worthy of big names like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Death.

In Aura, the riffs have a tune fast and complex, whose tone distortion gives the tracks an environmental aspect extremely obscure. The main riff of Entranced by the Wolfshook, for example, is long and complex, showing that Bölzer is not a tremolo picking death metal band. For his great creativity, the riffs are the highlight of the tracks along the EP, calling the listener's attention for a dark and disturbing musical atmosphere.

The gutturals differ also by their diversity, ranging from powerful treble à la Glenn Benton and David Vincent , that alternate with harsh passages as in the classic Transilvanian Hunger by Darkthrone , finishing with desperate screams echoing from the background that remind me of Rainer Landfermann of Bethlehem . The sound of the vocals is chaotic and dissonant, and often during the tracks, the listener ends up being taken to a distressing feeling of despair caused by the masterful combination of different vocals.

There is not much to comment on the drums, because they are not the highlight of the EP and are just a background to the great work of riffs and vocals. Also, in the mix the sound of the drums got little attention (which was common to happen in classic black metal albums of the early 90s).

With Aura, their second official release, Bölzer shows that it is a solid band of creative artists who are not interested in ascending the swiss underground to the mainstream media abusing of musical clichés but want to show that one can mix the obscure black metal sound with the power and force of death metal and build a job distressingly striking.

Originally written for opusoculto.blogspot.com

Tightly Coiled Chaos - 80%

DEATHPORTAL, July 9th, 2013

Bölzer is a two-man band from Switzerland formed in 2008. In late 1012, the band independently released a demo entitled Roman Acupuncture. Recently, Bölzer unleashed a 12 " vinyl EP limited to a 1,000 copies simply entitled Aura. The album encompasses three studio compositions of a unique black metal/death metal mix with faint traces of doom elements incorporated. Having never been familiar with the band, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I gravitated towards their sound upon first listen. Aura is a darkened celestial journey sure to please the fortunate ones who are able to get their hands on this exclusive treasure.

When I listened to Aura the first time, my ears filled with a sound reminiscent of French metallers, Aosoth. Perhaps it was the dissonant guitar, or eerie atmospheric fog that was exorcising from my speakers. However, subsequent listens proved, while Bölzer has produced a sound comparable to others, the band themselves crafts their songs that stand out as independently perplexing. Tightly coiled guitar riffs weave in and out, as do tempos. Their songs simmer, boil and steam, churn and wallow. While there remains some aggressive pounding throughout the EP's duration, there're more ambiences of electricity that buzzes in their sound than speed-induced ferociousness.

Aura plays at just shy of 24 minutes; with two songs on side A, "CME" and "Entranced By The Wolfshook", and on the B side, the ten minute plus, "The Great Unifier". Overall, each song boasts the same formula and similar format, and as a whole provides an excellent insight into this relatively new, but budding band. I really love the guitar work Bölzer executes. The riffs stretch and bend, and often times reach high peaks frantically. Furthermore, notable is the exemplary vocals and lyrics. The band's guitar and vocalist, KzR, bellows, hoots, yelps and yells through poetically written songs about, what I perceive to be, anti-cosmic Satanism and the struggle of man. One thing is for certain as far as Aura is concerned, a mystic of evil lurks throughout it's menacing intonations.

Bölzer most certainly attains success with Aura. It echoes through the misty fog of blackened, avant garde metal with ominous imminence. Fittingly, its exclusive to a vinyl release, which personally, I love and think adds further ethos. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for this exceptional band. No doubt they are worth keeping an eye on. As Aura quintessentially displays, Bölzer possesses an exceptional talent of which translates into intriguing uniqueness and unfathomable potential.
***Originally written for and by www.deathportal.net

Wedded to darkness. No possibility of parole. - 90%

autothrall, May 20th, 2013

Switzerland, in its eminent neutrality, has never been the most prolific exporter of high quality metal music, but it seems like each decade you can count on some ephemeral wave of darkness to explode out of that country; in the 80s, it was Celtic Frost and Coroner, followed by the great Samael in the 90s, and now...Bölzer? With their Aura EP, the Zurich duo embarks on a refreshing tour of some classic black and death metal influences, but they stand up and own them with a fresh layer of ritualistic atmosphere that seems to reverberate off the walls of the Alps before escaping into the cosmos beyond. To be blunt, I wish I heard a lot more bands taking chances like this one does; too often do you hear the same old, tired 20-25 year-in-the-past US/Swedish death worship which fanatics tend to laud strictly through a sense of apathetic nostalgia. But I promise you: Bölzer evokes a sound both ancient and current.

The rhythm guitars have an enormous but ripping tone to them which can support both the drudging cemetery dirt of the low-end chords and the band's uncanny sense of harmony which pervades the exotic, immediately memorable tremolo picked progressions and grooves of "Entranced by the Wolfshook". A truly absorbing piece, and my favorite among the three on the EP, despite some stiff composition from its neighbors. The vocals range between broad, echoing van Drunen growls and raving lunatic barks and howls, but then the band will also tear into these manly mid-ranged cleans. I know its an unusual blend, but I often felt the music was like a collaboration between Incantation, earlier Samael and Mastodon, especially when those open vocal intonations arrive in the bridge of "Entranced...". Hell, the EP's finale, a nearly 11 minute behemoth called "The Great Unifier", is like a perfect hybrid of atmospheric blackened death-sludge, which effortlessly storms between blasted streams of dissent and sodden breakdown grooves. It's quite good, DAMN good, and eschews the normal sense of unnecessary repetition often associated with fattened track lengths.

Bass guitars don't seem to be a factor in this sound, but the richness of the rhythm guitar carving is so dense and atmospheric, simultaneously ethereal and crushing that the ears will only rarely need to wander from them, and usually to the vocals. The drums of HzR are vital and propulsive, though, and the substantial periods of tribal-based tom smashing lend the album much of its mountainous, Cyclopean flavor, a more esoteric and externalized sense of being than you usually get from Bölzer subterranean peers. It does not suffocate; it exhales. This music does not sound like it's being performed in a cave, but from the hills and heights, challenging the sky to swallow it, and it takes on a beautiful/ominous contrast, a mythic quality that glues the listener to a sizable swath of relistens that he/she might graze on its magnificence. Transcendental, memorable, earth-shaking and night-slaked ideas. Varied enough without losing consistency. Very eager to hear if Bölzer can pull off this level of expression on a full-length; but, for now, Aura is ample fulfillment.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com