The slumbering sludge colossus of Wigan, Boss Keloid, stirs from its hibernation to once again stride confidently over, through, and past genres to produce their newest monolith of filth.
Angular Beef Lesson was Boss Keloid’s first album, and laid out what this group could achieve. Songs like Tension R.I.B, Coin Snorter and the brilliant Spurt Reynolds are full of ambition, and a willingness to continue the work produced by their influences, yet guide you into their own territory.
They twist others ideas so that they eventually become their own. It was a seven track statement – it wasn’t perfect, but it was a strong start. That was three years ago.
The next step for Boss Keloid was to persist in their confidence, continue to explore, refine their production – stay interesting – but above all else stay engaging to themselves.
Split into two sections Lechuguilla alludes to deep cave exploration (or in this case the depths of bass and sludge) and Phoenix builds upon of the themes they have established – binding ideas to create a declaration.
It’s with Alex Hurst’s vocals that the initial contact with The Calming Influence of Teeth begins. Part metal, part blues, and plenty of experimentation, tracks range from fanatical vocalisations to straight faced booming. Think Captain Beef Heart tearing Neil Fallon apart in a maths lesson. When it peaks with tracks like One For The Floorboards and Hoof Conductor, all the characteristics of his range show him to be compelling, frightening and humorous – all at the same time.
Like any band however the vocals alone would never be allowed the space and openness to experiment if a solid groove wasn’t in place to begin with, and that’s the real secret of The Calming Influence of Teeth. Paul Swarbricks guitar work is great, particularly at the end of One For The Floorboards, and Ste Arands drumbeats have the ability to knock out deceptively simple rhythmic lines, then the confidence to send them into orbit with screw turning tension control. The skewed marching of Locking Stumps, and its slow grind can often catch the less united of bands out, but Boss Keloid tear those time signatures apart.
Muscular Grin is maths for Ed Gein – it constantly repositions itself, ideas held together by the vocals moving from inside your head to staring you in the face – there’s true musical danger here.
What will undoubtedly be seen as one of the albums peaks, ‘Winehorse’ both opens the book for what Boss Keloid do and closes it, an idea competed, mastered and overcome, forcefully moving to the next idea as though failure to stay interesting is a black hole they strive to stay away from.