BOLZÖ – Moonlight

BOLZÖ – Moonlight

Genre eclectic acts such as Emperor, Dissection and Behemoth created a space where black and death metal could coexist in perfect equilibrium, a place the now sadly defunct Enforsaken briefly tapped into before extinquished by corporate greed. The Trondheim, Trondelag, Norwegian outfit Bolzö seems to have tapped the same vein on their debut EP but with additional Peaceville doomy influence signaling a promising future, as long as the clean vocalizations improve sooner rather than later.

Bolzö, named after and fronted by vocalist and lead guitarist Benjamin Bolsø along with Torstein Ulveseth (rhythm guitars), Jo-Aslak Aspås (rhythm and lead guitars), Ole Alexander Ådlandsvik (bass) and Jonathan Hamre (drums), have only 3 chances to impress me and they do an admirable job on all 3 tracks, especially on the favorite Watainy "Hate" where the lyrics are pretty clever – portraying a person willingly and seemingly possesed by titular hate yet also deep down miserably consumed by it to their doom and knowing it – with a fantastic solo bordering on virtuosic and beautiful melody. Every song is different, a rare feat in this double genre, the opener "Suffering In Silence" a melodeathly Enforsaken meets Mors Principium Est and, finally, the closing title track severely classic Peaceville (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost) atop early Dark Tranquillity while Behemothian at its core.

What’s neat is that two additional tracks, "Void" and "Thy Land", both released earlier as separate singles, are featured here live (Energimølla) with an excellent near-studio production to boot, so the EP is a kind of compilation of all 5 songs Bolzö has ever recorded. The live tracks are as different from the new ones as Behemoth’s pre-2000 material is from their later work, with the Peacevilleian "Void" and "Thy Land" easily fitting on "In The Nightside Eclipse" (Emperor).

All of the 5 tracks being of highly memorable and excellently produced quality which bode well for the future, why so low a score? Well, as I have already foreshadowed, the clean vocals are hit and miss. While they work well and compliment the favorite "Hate" neatly, adding an epic emotional touch while slightly off key on the title track, they are downright cringeworthy on "Void" and should be avoided at all costs in the future. But then again, they remind me of Bengt Mikael Stanne’s (Dark Tranquillity) on "The Gallery" and look how far he has come since then.

Powerfully produced, flawlessly executed and with inventive and memorable songwriting, Bolzö is an act to watch, provided they can improve the cleans. They, again, remind me of early Dark Tranquillity the most and for this reason I foresee great things to come from them. Meanwhile, check out the title track and "Hate" for a preview of what they can do for ya.