Hemingway: liked guns. Guns are metal!
So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society. Like shining my shoes.
Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.
This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.
Taking a swing in a more ambient direction: Bossk
Now, the above picture is a little misleading. Bossk did indeed have a vocalist, but his presence on-stage was infrequent – they were more akin to straight instrumental post-metal; and they were bloody good at it.
Unlike the previous two entries in this series, I actually got to hear Bossk before they split up. And boy, did they ever catch my attention, and not just because of the massive geeky reference in their name.
It was the night before my nineteenth birthday, and I had tickets to see Envy in Camden. Now, Envy are awesome, but you know you’re onto something good when the support act blows away the headliner – especially one as good as Envy. The atmosphere Bossk created in that room was awesome; some dude even went and lay down in front of the stage as the band played, and just let the music flow over him. I felt like joining him.
It was a complete and utter surprise when, about twenty minutes into the set, some lunatic bounds onto the stage and start growling into a hitherto hidden mic.
There was a swift stop made to the merch stand that night, I can tell you. At this point I only picked up their first EP, the minimalistically-titled .1, but soon followed with .2 – which is essentially where it ends I’m afraid. Essentially. But I’ll get to that.
Although both records are a slow-rolling affair, .1 is perhaps the more ambient of the two, and is a fine introduction to Bossk’s sound. I’m struggling to describe it adequately without resorting to the cliché of comparing them to Cult of Luna or Isis – not that to do so would do them a discredit, for those are fine bands, but it wouldn’t quite encapsulate what Bossk are.
I sometimes struggle to recall any particular tracks, but this is not for lack of quality. It’s more that you simply get lost in their soundscapes. Riffs and melodies flow into each other. The seperation of tracks feels somewhat redundant, as the first becomes the second, with little or no fanfare to herald the change. .1 actually gets fairly heavy towards the end, and they pull it off well.
‘Define truth’. Deep, man.
Define is a pacier affair than what has come before, continuing where the previous EP left off, starting off as a more standard post-metal track, before breaking back into the expansive, low-key stuff you would have come to expect from .1.
I couldn’t pick a favourite between these two records. Each has merit worthy of your investigation. I wouldn’t claim that they would convert someone who isn’t a fan of the genre, but hell, you’d struggle to not find something of worth here.
Unfortunately, as is the point of this column, the band disintegrated soon after their 200th show, with most of the original members having left. However, they were been surprisingly prolific post-demise for a band that didn’t exist anymore. A matter of weeks before their final show, they set about releasing their epitaph: a DVD entitled, funnily enough, .3 – an interesting mix of live performances, including their landmark 200th show. It was released post-humously, and followed shortly after by a split EP with Rinoa, which unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing.
It really is a damn shame that they’re not around any more, as that truly was the best place to experience them, but the live footage does in part make up for this.
In a convenient twist of coincidence, Bossk’s entire catalogue has been packaged together by Eyesofsound, who I mentioned in last week’s edition. I also mentioned their free giveaway of The Mire‘s first demo, Volume I (notice a theme here?), one of the founding members of which was Bossk’s very own Tom Begley, and although Begley is no longer with The Mire either, I have it on good authority that he has a new band in the works – details when I get them.
As for the rest of the band, I have no idea what they’re up to now, if anything. They were a talented bunch of dudes, so I hope if nothing at the moment, then perhaps they’ll lend their talents to something again soon.