Album: Lese Majesty
Label: Lightning & Sons
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Release Date: November 29th, 2019
Bölzer is a metal band based out of Zürich, Switzerland. Composed of two members, Okoi Jones and Fabian Wyrsch, the band released their debut EP Roman Acupuncture in 2012. 2013 and 2014 saw the releases of Aura and Soma respectively, both EPs as well. 2016 saw the release of their debut full-length album Hero.
I have seen Bölzer mostly described as blackened death metal and based off of my own personal observations of their music, I would not argue with that label. However, their music does not quite resemble other bands that I have heard the label applied to, such as Behemoth or Dissection. Then again there is a lot of diversity within even the subgenres of metal and labels are a bit constraining anyways. Their sound and style is unique enough to stand out above the crowds of black metal, death metal, and blackened death metal bands that have popped up over the last couple of decades.
Lese Majesty is Bölzer’s fourth EP and fifth overall album. It is the longest of all Bölzer’s EPs at around 29 minutes, but as expected is still significantly shorter than their sole full-length studio album Hero. Sonically, this record does not stray too far from the blueprint that Bölzer has established with their previous releases. The heavy blast beats, the dense guitar riffs, the feral growls, and the clean singing are all still there. Compared to Hero, Lese Majesty feels like a little bit of a retreat towards Bölzer’s older comfort zone that their previous EPs have constructed. The campy singing style utilized in various parts of Hero still appears on the parts of Lese Majesty, but with less frequency and less intensity. The song structures also do not feel as varied as on Hero, but they do sound more dynamic than those from the earlier EPs. Compared to some of their earlier EPs, the sound here seems a bit more polished and clean, not unlike on Hero. In fact, I would say that Lese Majesty feels a bit like a compromise between Hero and everything the band released before that.
The EP kicks off with the track A Shepherd In Wolven Skin, which clocks in at a little over nine minutes long. This is probably the most adventurous track on the album, incorporating whistling into parts of its head-banging, galloping metal instrumentation. A Shepherd In Wolven Skin is followed by the interlude Æstivation, which according to Wikipedia is something some animals do that is similar to hibernation, but during the summertime as opposed to during the winter. This interlude features a rather shamanic-sounding instrumental that conjures a ritualistic sort of atmosphere. Over this instrumental a man who I am assuming is the lead singer Okoi theatrically recites an incantation woven with magical and esoteric imagery. It sounds like a giant rising from his slumber. To be honest, I feel like this interlude would have fit better if it had been the intro to the whole album, but it doesn’t ruin the flow of the record either, so no biggie. Following Æstivation is the second proper song off the album, Into The Temple Of Spears, which is about six-and-a-quarter minutes long. Aside from the lack of whistling, this song is not too different from Shepherd sonically. The final track Ave Fluvius! Danu Be Praised is by far the longest, clocking in at a little over twelve minutes. As opposed to tracks 1 and 3, this final joint starts off with a subtle, short ambient intro and ends much the same way, but with an epic metal odyssey in between. Similar to Bölzer’s previous releases, the lyrics on this album seem to deal with themes such as with mythology, philosophy, and self-actualization. All three full length songs are overall intense, exciting, and energetic works of metal music.
In conclusion, Lese Majesty is a strong addition to Bölzer’s catalog. While it may not be as daring as the band’s previous release, Hero, Lese Majesty still has charisma. The album is consistently entertaining and engaging. Bölzer may have dialed back their musical risk-taking compared to on Hero, but demonstrate that they are still sharp and skilled with their musical weaponry and songwriting prowess.
- A Shepherd In Wolven Skin
- Into The Temple Of Spears
- Ave Fluvius! Danu Be Praised
Total Playing Time: 29:25