One thing I revel in hearing are bands that have grabbed my attention, for whatever reason, progress with each new album. Boss Keloid have offered a lot in that regard but nothing prepared me for what their third full length Melted On the Inch offers. Progression for many bands is simply making another album with a twist of a riff or two, maybe switch vocal approaches or slowing the groove down. But for Boss Keloid it means reinventing themselves while staying true to their stoner doom roots. And the noise they put together is glorious.
I mentioned in my review of 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm just how much they’d come into their own and shed the mathy aspects of debut The Calming Influence of Teeth. It was a welcome change, as the math-like approach never really fit the band. But the glory in that statement is no one knew it didn’t fit until Herb… took the left turn it did. It was a solid debut but after hearing the doom / stoner / prog that riddled that second album the band left their debut in the dust. Not happy to revisit the past, they had returned with loaded bongs of smoke filled heaviness and were better for it.
Two years later and with another cleverly titled album, Boss Keloid clearly define what it means to mature while keeping identities intact. “Peykruve” opens with an entrancing reggae jam before shedding it for the kind of rock that would make Jim Morrison smile from above. Earlier, on opener “Chronosiam” the band gives us the kind of hazy heaviness that Herb… had but wraps it up neatly with jazzy guitars and bass that saunters in and out of the spotlight like leaves on the wind. This is where Boss Keloid have shown their biggest strength: moments of familiarity giving way to unexpected rhythms, structures and tones keeping us guessing while staying glued to the speakers for what’s to come.
One of the many things that has stood out to me throughout every note this band has put to tape has been Alex Hurst’s vocals. His voice continues to be the linchpin that ties everything together but it feels even more evident here. His melodies on “Lokannok” are better than I’ve ever heard and his confident strength on “Griffonbrass” make it one to tuck away for the award ceremonies. But the one performance that wormed its way into my brain the most is “Tarku Shavel.” His softly crooned yet gravely opening moments stop me in my tracks — every time. Coupled that with Hurst’s signature powerful delivery and you’ve got something comes across on a whole other level. LINCHPIN. Think about that as you take this album in and get back to me if you disagree.
Hurst’s performance aside, nothing can take away from the stunning efforts of the band as a whole. If you’re in doubt, start with the all-encompassing scope of “Griffonbrass” then work your back through the album. The syncopated melodies and off kilter classic rock grooves align perfectly with an entity that absolutely will not make the same album twice – nor the same song for that matter. We’ve been afforded the opportunity to hear a band, still young in the broad scheme of things, release three completely different albums while somehow vehemently holding onto their identity through every evolution. And with each iteration they sound better than ever.
I’ve gone on long enough to try and convince you Melted On the Inch is an album worth experiencing. It’s up to you to do the research and find out just how much Boss Keloid have grown in a short time-frame. But it’s also up to you to pay attention as they melt expectations and progress on so many levels. Each album has brought on something completely new and there’s no telling what the next one will sound like. Melted On the Inch is an absolute pleasure to spend time with but also a benchmark album for the band.
One can’t ask for more than that from any artist.