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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-