Monday 12 August 2013

Boss Keloid - The Calming Influence of Teeth

My laptop is now at full strength again. I spilled beer on the keyboard last week and I thought it had fried. Actually, it now seems to be working better than ever. It's a hell of a relief as I've got a busy schedule to through over the next couple of weeks and it all starts here with Wigan's own riff worshippers Boss Keloid. With the exception of Manchester, I've not come across too many bands from Lancashire, so at least these guys are redressing the balance.

The Calming Influence of Teeth was released in May of this year, so it's pretty fresh. It's also the second release to come from Boss Keloid, after their debut seven-track record Angular Beef Lesson in 2010. The trippy cover up there should give you a clue as to the contents of this album and despite obvious comparisons to Iron Monkey (in their moniker at least), their brand of groove and sludge shows that they're not just simple copyists.


1. Winehorse
2. Locking Stumps
3. Skipper's Pipes
4. Manson Lamps
5. Muscular Grin
6. Bellow of Blackened Beasts
7. Hoof Conductor
8. One For The Floorboards
9. Firm Set of Hordes
10. Madam Palindrome

One thing I think that UK have always been able to do is groove and write wicked riff, thanks in part to the like of Black Sabbath and Cathedral who influenced and spawned a whole host of killer groove/stoner/sludge bands across this isle. Now Boss Keloid are well and truly added to those ranks. The vocals invoke that southern drawl that has become familiar amongst the sub-genre but the math-rock touches add a huge heap of progression, which you might not have expected to hear. All of this is found in opening track Winehorse, which will no doubt leave headbanging and bewildered at the same time! It's definitely a high-energy start to the record and that momentum remains in tact as Locking Stumps gathers steam. Boss Keloid's sound has an air of nostalgia too it and reminds me of the first time I sat and listened to bands like Warhorse and Charger. There's even a sense of the mischievous Dukes of Nothing hiding in their instrumentation too. This is pure heavy metal that belongs on the stages of Bloodstock! That said, it could equally sit well on the Arc Tan Gent Fest line-up too, thanks to that infectious progression that seeps through the album.

Some of the vocals during Skipper's Pipes make you believe that you're somehow tripping on hallucinogens and your functioning in some distorted parallel universe! That only lasts for a brief stretch though, as your bought crashing back to reality by some full-on driving guitar. By now, Boss Keloid are ploughing their way through the album and have hit their stride. It's really refreshing to hear a band that appreciates multiple sub-genres and manager to weave them into their music like this. Too many sludge/groove bands fall into the trap of solely playing the one sub-genre and don't steer themselves away from that blueprint, which quickly gets tiresome if done wrong. A the bizarrely title Manson Lamps fills the speakers, to bands at polar opposites spring to mind, Grand Magus and American Head Charge. I'm gonna stop with the comparisons after this. Listen to the song for yourselves and see if you agree with me. If you're on the same wavelength, you'll know where I'm coming from!

The mid point in the album is Muscular Grin. It's one of their more straight up metal numbers and even though there are still plenty of shifting time signatures, it seems to remain as rewarding a listen as the rest of the album. It's just a driving, sprawling pile driver. I was expecting some evil, Satan worshipping black metal from a song title Bellow of Blackened Beasts, but that just proves you shouldn't make snap judgements. The song is evil and has some cracking undertones to it. The clean harmonies in it are more spiritual than evil and the off-kilter melodies and riffs make it a real beast of a song. Hoof Conductor is built around the same riffs that permeate through the whole song and keep things uniform. When they take a lower form, things get more menacing and its mid way through the song that you begin to fully appreciate Boss Keloid's more involving song lengths. I think had the songs been shorter, they would have sound cluttered as each member has ideas and parts that justify them spreading out a bit. It makes The Calming Influence of Teeth a really engaging listen and one, which won't seem you skipping tracks. Like a lot of more progressive records, it's one, which you have to listen to in its entirety.

The bellowing, almost echoing nature of the vox during One For The Floorboards is another hint toward the more stoner/sludge influences in Boss Keloid's sound and thanks to the production on the record, add to the considerable volume and sheer heft on show. It certainly isn't weak in that department. You hear people all the time saying that metal should be turned up loud, but actually volume does make a massive difference when you're listening. When you've got a record mastered like this, you certainly can't spare a thought for your neighbours, as you'll miss on many aspects, like the jazz-infused bass, which you wouldn't otherwise pick out. It was a great idea getting the same person to produce, mix and master the record, as it's given it a huge sense of continuation. Weaker listeners will be struggling to hold on as it comes to the final two tracks, Firm Set of Hordes and Madam Palindrome, but those of you who have more staying power will be feeling as victorious and the band will no doubt have felt, when they finished the recording. The whole album from start to finish pumps you up and prepares you to fight the mightiest of battles. It is grin inducing, beer swilling heavy fun, which would rile anybody with an ounce of emotion and life inside them. Stuff all of your mainstream copycats and sound-a-likes, us Brits now have another band that can take on and vanquish the false!

Stream the whole record here:-

You can download it for £4 or buy the stunning CD for £5 from the above bandcamp page. Either way, you''re getting a total bargain.

Boss Keloid Big Cartel -
Boss Keloid Facebook -

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