Swiss extreme rockers Bölzer are back with the “Lese Majesty” mini album, three years after releasing “Hero”.
Consisting of only two members, drummer HzR and guitarist/vocalist KzR, Bölzer’s lineup mirrors that of German neighbours’ Mantar. Both projects try to squeeze out all the sonic ferocity they can from the spare set of single percussion, single strings and raspy voice. While Mantar taps more in the punk vein, trying to tackle the everyman’s struggles under the capitalist fiefdom, the voice of Bölzer booms above the urbanized landscape. Their songs are the bellows of a primal god long forgotten, trying to awaken our bewitched souls. That god reminds us of an ancient time when true heroes walked beside us, and our hearts were ablaze with magnanimity simply by being at their presence.
Such dialectics can only be struck upon our wretched selves with the blow of some powerful strike. That’s what Bölzer sets out to do with their music. They now carry the flag which Mastodon used to wave, when the Earth-shattering riffs of “Leviathan” and “Blood Mountain” shook our world about 15 years ago.
Bölzer’s rams have come to us, so far, in two different shapes: that of a sudden, devastating lightning bolt (the “Aura” and “Soma” EPs), or the stoic scorching under a Mediterranean Sun (the “Hero” LP). The lesson was best carried forth in the short classes – the EPs seem to be the most effective format for Bölzer. “Lese Majesty” sits in between both modes: not as short as the EPs, but also not as long as the album. It rekindles the most brutal side of the early material, while also retaining the clean aspects of “Hero”.
“A Shepherd in Wolven Skin” opens with what might be Bölzer’s hookiest riff since the one from “Entranced by the Wolfshook”. “Into the Temple of Spears” is Bölzer’s most marked incursion into traditional death metal so far. The menacing drive of the chorus (“my essence absconding unto the night sky / the flesh below be but a door beyond”), as it is repeated over and over the thrashing rhythms at the end, marks the album’s best moment. “Ave Fluvius! Danú Be Praised!” is an ode to the old deities of the river, who shall overcome the false idols and their worshippers in a magnificent flood. Lyrically, it’s the mini-album’s weakest point, recurring to clichéd metal similes to convey the apocalyptic imagery. Musically, it also lacks the momentum of the last two tracks, unfolding as a sort of Celtic Frost/desert rock jam hybrid, but it shall cater to the fans of Bölzer’s longer suites.
The spare nature of Bölzer’s discography feels welcome, in a time when too many metal bands squirm for 45 minutes of new music every 2 years – too often in an underwhelming result. “Lese Majesty” might not be the triumphant return we expected from the Helvetic duo, but it adds two great new songs to their catalogue. We can’t wait to be smitten down by them at the next Bölzer show!
Review by Sérgio Pelado
Managing Editor: Rita Limede