It’s funny how little time we spend on the verb behind the much-used term “progressive”. Strangely enough, the progressive genres (whether metal or rock) have their own predefined boundaries when it comes to their sound and overall approach. To be sure, many bands within those genres exist who mess around with those boundaries but they usually do so on their own, also pre-approved trajectory. Thus, the postmodern wisdom of the science of resistance, the idea that rebels and those who deviate also do so in well defined ways, sees credence when we consider how, when and why bands innovate. Those who want to really catch us off our guard must rebel not only against the mainstream narrative but against the narrative of the counterculture, of how to rebel.
Enter Boss Keloid. Their sophomore release, Herb Your Enthusiasm, was well belied by its name as it put them on our radar; their music was progressive stoner personified, all treble, fuzz and smokey haze. Honestly, we were expecting more of the same from Melted on the Inch and were content with that. Their brand of stoner mixed with sludge was to our liking. But, instead, Melted on the Inch threw us quite a bit of a curve ball. On it, Keloid have reached back into their progressive rock roots and brought forth a sound which, while not a complete stranger to their established tones, is certainly something new. The result is an album where composition is way more varied than before, synth tones rule the day, the vocals are non traditional and the overall theme seems much changed. Insert a weed joke here, something about breeds? Let’s just get to it.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Melted on the Inch is the different track structure. Instead of riding the waves of their groove, content with a verse-chorus-verse structure that’s often over-utilized within a genre claiming to be progressive, Keloid mess around with where tracks go and what they do. Take the opening track, “Chronosiam” for example; it starts off regularly enough and, even when it slows down a bit near the two minute mark, you’re still within the stoner comfort zone. But then those quieter moments become the main structure for the verse, coupled with heavier iterations on them. A lush synth tone leads the way, wrapping up the vocals and the overall staccato structure of the verse in a warm embrace. The first chorus is almost sing-along in its momentum and verve, completing this track’s energy and making it a memorable opener.
Such experimentation with track structure is all over this album. All the heavier, straight up sludge moments (like the heavy middle of the fourth track, “Jromalih”, for example) are bracketed by really interesting and weird grooves. The aforementioned track for example features a really stoned out, Eastern-tinged section right before the outro culmination of the track, a culmination which only leads to the spaced out openings of “Lokannok”, a track which really takes the album’s formula forward. As before, everything is motivated and even created by the synths. We’ve mentioned them in passing but they deserve they’re own place in this review; their tones are simply mind-blowing. They go back to the classics for sure (Camel‘s name comes to mind) but have an added edge of weirdness about them that’s hard to define. Regardless, they get the job down marvelously, acting as the backbone of many of the more intricate passages on the album and interacting beautifully with the classic guitar tones.
This, of course, leaves us with the vocals. As we said about Herb Your Enthusiasm, these are the real pearl in the clam of Keloid’s sound. Their timbre is just perfect for what they do on this album, as before. Their deep power is the progressive stoner’s wet dream, enough to set you to thinking about smoldering joints and hazy rooms by themselves. Supported by the rest of the instrumentation, they have an effect similar to that of Neil Fallon (Clutch), as they set the theme, tone and mood of the album. As we near the end of this review, you have to ask yourselves: is this an album I want to miss? The answer is, probably not. As much as we usually hate using the term, Melted on the Inch presents a real maturation for Boss Keloid, a step forward in how they see themselves and their music. Come join them on their journey; you won’t regret it.
Melted on the Inch sees release on April 27th (yes, not on 4/20). Head on over to the band’s Bandcamp to grab it and, while you’re there, take a look at their shirts. They kick ass. Happy weed day my friends; smoke one for me, will ya?