Archive for the ‘Bolt Gun’ Category

Bolt Gun — Iron Surgeon

Monday, August 17th, 2015

There is a view that metal in Australia, even in the underground, has been more than happy to stick to a business plan built from anachronisms both sonic and conceptual. This accusation bears the character of a certain laziness. Or, perhaps it is wrought from the overwhelming prospect of trying to find needles within the haystack that is the world of digitally available music. Scenes globally are full of bands that choose to emulate and go for tried and true formulae from technical death metal through to the black arts. The bands a writer is most often directly contacted by or encounters most readily are often of this ilk. There’s simply nothing exceptional about Australia when it comes to this phenomenon. For writers who accept the onus to mine more deeply and thoroughly, beneath the visible crust, there is plenty of invention and promise evident within the Australian underground. Some of these artists, such as Hope Drone, are breaking out of obscurity and gaining the attention they deserve. Other continually progressing treasures remain hidden and underappreciated for the time being, such as the project called Bolt Gun.

Bolt Gun formed in 2012, originating as a power electronics solo project before founding member Andrew teamed up with his good friend Jonathon, resulting in the emergence of more black metal and doom influences in their overall sound. As passionate fans of film directors such as David Lynch, Andrei Tarkovsky, Krzysztof Koz?owski and particularly Konstantin Lopushansky, the band’s inspirations drawn from these directors led to an emphasis on vast, cinematic compositions. Alongside these picturesque motivations, musical influences reflect a broad and encompassing love of experimental music, from Burzum to Swans, Phillip Glass, Laibach, and Brighter Death Now to give some examples,

With contributing members over the course of Bolt Gun’s existence hailing from Perth, Melbourne and Europe, they produced their first recording in the middle of 2014. At just under half an hour in length, the epic but underrated Exit As A Swarm expressed a thoughtful blend of drone, ambient, noise, post-rock and black metal of tremendous atmosphere and anguish. The EP provided another example challenging the perception of heavy music in the Australian underground being content to play it safe, full of potential and signs of Bolt Gun’s creative ambition. Content with a focus entirely upon the creation of music, Bolt Gun have remained something of a secret. Recently, the band completed and digitally released their second recording, Iron Surgeon, emphasizing that it is time that they were drawn out of obscurity.

Iron Surgeon begins with churning reverberant drone, pulsating and understated distortion churning just beneath the waves. Slowly, a mantra of bass emerges, seasoned with cymbals and sparing percussion. A guitar releases beautiful flourishes of minimal leads before switching to graceful ringing strums. The drones intensify, all things tying together as an evocation of foreboding and hypnotic kraut ambience.

These portentious and subtly evolving loops erupt suddenly into Iron Surgeon’s second part, the bass motif interpreted through a stately downtempo black metal filter, each call answered with vox infused with a post-hardcore or blackened death spirit, like that of Aldrahn on Blood Must Be Shed. Tremolo picking heralds a transmutation into total sonic fury that draws references from the best of second wave BM. The violence gives way once again to the processional, guitars buzzing with anger all the while, building in volume and reverberance before ripping back one final time into a pyrotechnic storm of destruction.

“III” closes Iron Surgeon as a separate piece, unlike the conjoined nature of the first two parts. This finale is pure ambience, drawing from all of the waves of sound throughout the record’s half hour. Piercing distorted electronic noise and looping waves of feedback swarm before dropping off into an idyllic minimal ambient trance.

Iron Surgeon is an exciting progression following on from Exit As A Swarm. There is the suggestion of future live performances in the pipeline, when the members can get together, and Bolt Gun’s devotion to epic compositions and blending exhausting intensity with soothing calm promises a great experience should live appearances eventuate. Their music, bred from such a diverse and avant garde pool of influence, is well worth taking your time to acquire and to keep your eye on in the future.

Iron Surgeon is available now through Bolt Gun’s Bandcamp.