Finland is not a country much known for its scene Stoner / Sludge. However, this does not mean that, from time to time, something remarkable won’t arise from the underground.
Boar is a carefree band from Oulu in central Finland, and presents their second album “Veneficae” released by Lost Pilgrim Records.
After the first listening, the weight of the band’s sound is notorious, due to the dense mixture of heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, combined with a distorted bass that adds more punch and helps create the sonic atmosphere that becomes claustrophobic at times. The rhythm section features a powerful battery that even though seems to stand behind the sonic curtain created by both guitars and bass, marks the pace very effectively, without complicating. The vocalizations are contrasting just like the whole album, featuring both melodic singing remembering a more psychedelic side of Stoner music, and the rougher and dirtier typical Sludge.
Without any kind of introduction to what is coming, the first song “old Grey” begins straightforwardly rampant, hitting the listener in the face with a wall of sound created by all the distortion and pounding drums. On the quieter moments, some riffs remind the dissonant chords of Portuguese Wells Valley, ending the song quickly to give way to “Witch Woman”, a more catchy song with bigger Stoner influences than sludge. The sharpest aggression return “Sand” and its excellent guitar leads, which continue to whet your appetite for the best song of the album, which also happens to name the record itself: “Veneficae”. This is a song which begins with a growing drone of feedback, booming drums and dirty vocals. A short isolated guitar lead sets the mood for the destructive noise wave that comes immediately afterwards. An excellent Sludge moment, reminding the weight of the likes of Buried At Sea, if they played as quickly and as catchy as Boar do.
“Trees” returns to the classic Stoner style and continues in a more psychedelic way, yet less aggressive, presenting us with a guitar solo filled with feeling that fits perfectly in the ambiance of the song. The last song along with “Veneficae” are the best moments in this record… The latter is longer, begins with a bass line and develops into a devastating crescendo with another great guitar solo. The band should invest more in these solos for these are a truly essential ingredient to the sound identity of Finnish collective.
In conclusion, do not let the tranquil artwork deceive you. “Veneficae” is a crushingly heavy record, ranging from the most classic American redneck Stoner, pulling you to drink up whiskey… to the dirtiest and most deafening sludge that leaves the listener in an angry mood in which the highlights are the most cathartic moments that Sludge can provide complemented with the occasional guitar solos.
7.5 / 10