Boss Keloid – Family The Smiling Thrush

Rob O’Hara

With a solid foundation in sludgy stoner metal, Boss Keloid have developed and progressed their sound beyond those genre labels with their latest offering in ‘Family The Smiling Thrush’.

Loaded with progressive grooves, sludgy rhythms, melodic guitar leads and soaring vocals, the band have expanded on their sphere of sounds from ‘Melted on the Inch’.

Evidence of this in the opening track ‘Orang of Noyn’ is apparent, with an exotic feel to the intro and powerful vocals. This track opens up the record perfectly and clocking in at over 9 minutes, will take you on the start of a very epic journey.

Throughout the record Alex Hurst’s vocals drive the songs forward and it is no more evident than on ‘Gentle Clovis’ which feels like the adopted child of a Led Zeppelin and Yes relationship. Whilst having a huge chorus that drives the song forward, the musicianship on show here is unquestionably a great example of how to write a progressive metal track.

With jarring guitars, melodies and tempo changes, ‘Family The Smiling Rush’ feels familiar throughout, but really shines with the track ‘Cecil Succulent’. The sludge metal side of Boss Keloid makes an evident appearance on this track, accompanied by a feeling of a more fusion and psychedelic sound.

With seven tracks on this offering, Boss Keloid make no room for mediocrity and each song is packed with melody, heavy progressive rhythms and the want to take you on an odyssey with their 70s prog and sludge metal sound. Not just one of the finest stoner metal bands, but with this, one of the finest progressive metal bands to come from the UK.

Having said this, depending on where you come from on the progressive metal spectrum, you may find that the tracks sound too similar. While there is no notable “formula”, and the song structures do not feel forced in order to pursue a different direction, there is a familiarity from song to song. The absolute progressive music nut may find themselves saying ‘not proggy enough for me’. For me though, the progressive grooves aid these transitions well and keep things fresh.

The production on ‘Family The Smiling Rush‘ is excellent, and Chris Fielding at Foel Studios has done a fantastic job. At no point do any of the instruments overpower one another or detract you from the experience. With vocals that can almost be hypnotic at times and soar above the nature of the individual songs, they add overlapping melodies and textures to the listening experience.

A truly wonderful piece of art that Boss Keloid should be proud of.

FFO: Baroness, Haken, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Yes.

Family The Smiling Thrush is out on June 4th through Ripple Music. You can pre-order it on Bandcamp.

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