Archive for the ‘Bosse de Nage’ Category

Bosse de Nage — All Fours

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

San Francisco’s Bosse de Nage have succeeded in creating the kind of anonymity most black metal musicians at least tell people they dream of (before going out and doing as much as they can to peel away the layers of mystique surrounding the pseudonyms and shadowy figures photographed against the skylines of the night). There is next to nothing one can know about them beyond the consumption of music and lyrics, the establishment of which amounts to a refreshing expression of mystique that sets things up nicely for purifying your enjoyment and interpretation of their creations. There is no back story. There is just the album you are playing.

Nevertheless, communities will gather to tell their stories; and, the one I most often hear when Bosse de Nage are mentioned initially has been “they did a split release with Deafheaven”. Following this, and being an established part of the USBM scene, lazy comparisons with Deafheaven are often encountered. Along with this come the trite and simplistic segues into posturing dismissal, of Bosse de Nage being “hipster” metal based upon association via the aforementioned discography and the odd photographs from live shows. Perhaps it is also the album covers, far removed from ham-fistedly beating you about your mental identikit with “we are black metal” iconography (“the most hipster metal album cover ever made” has been written about their latest).

These are tired, old, and indiscriminate mantras. Bosse de Nage have certainly received their share of appreciation, as they should. Yet they have not garnered the more expansive embrace that they deserve. This is perhaps best viewed in the form of the band releasing their fourth album through Profound Lore Records, All Fours, yet with many reviews (even those missives penned by writers who, by all accounts, should know better) describing Bosse de Nage as “exciting new talent”.

If the recognition some of their Bay Area colleagues have enjoyed has not come to them beforehand, one should rightly expect it to be generated by All Fours. Musically, the BM in Bosse de Nage’s USBM is perhaps the clearest and most easily identifiable amongst their American peers, immediately putting the kibosh on any of the grumpiest dreams of your most dogmatic black metal message board trolls. There is no doubt black metal is the heartbeat; but, it is by no means an appropriate description of the organism.

All Fours is rife with the tendrils of so many sonic forms of extremity, all seamlessly coming together in their creation of a somber and disturbing series of poetic tales of depravity. Bosse de Nage are masters of fusion, evolving black metal with their divergences into stylistic ambiguity. Fans of bands such as Fugazi, Nomeansno, Husker Du, Slint, etc. are just as likely to find the album appealing as are those who loved Sunbather as well as more traditionally darker expressions of black metal.  Perhaps most satisfying is how All Fours incorporates these indie and punk sensibilities into their work as though through sleight of hand, never coming across as an overt attempt to appeal to a broader audience. These elements are a natural fit for the more abrasive and explosive aspects of the record’s feel, thoughtful yet deranged, sensitive whilst dark as fuck.

In the case of every song, All Fours maintains its elevation above resorting to bland, overwrought theatrical black metal trademarks through lyrics of brilliant poetic flair describing sexuality way beyond the fringe. In this sense, the record rediscovers black metal’s capacity to shock those who cross its path. This is terribly rare, quite simply by virtue of those established theatrics having failed to survive the psychological inflation of what disturbs people over time. What helps vocalist and lyricist Bryan Manning achieve this shock value without becoming a caricature is not simply just a matter of the subjects and his capacity for imagining these scenarios. It is in the tremendous skill with which he articulates his imagination. It is no surprise to know that Manning has a book, The Sinking House, due for release later this year. His words are Bosse de Nage’s power play.

So, do not be fooled by any such descriptions of Bosse de Nage as being “new”. They are experienced and exceptional hands at this craft. If you have yet to discover them, you are long overdue. All Fours makes for a fantastic introduction to their work for those not already swooning as one of the band’s previously enchanted familiars.

All Fours is out now through Profound Lore.