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Bossk take post-metal to bleak new peaks on new album Migration

Post-metal is safe in the hands of UK experimentalists Bossk if their new album Migration is any measure

Bossk – Migration album review
(Image: © Deathwish Inc.)

Good things come to those who wait, and better things come to those who write massive riffs. Following several EPs and a break-up in the mid-2000s, Bossk finally released their debut full-length, Audio Noir, in 2016, catapulting them into the same untouchability as Cult Of Luna and Isis. Album number two is no copy- and-paste job, owing to more than just vocalist Sam Marsh’s absence. In post-metal parlance, Migration is to Audio Noir what Cult Of Luna’s Vertikal was to Eternal Kingdom. The warm, organic passages and timbres that complemented the debut’s striking cover have been stripped for parts to match Migration’s monochrome visuals. Throughout the record, radio signals and garbled messages cut through; hamstrung electronics pulsate across static-drenched interludes, courtesy of Japanese experimentalists Endon. It’s a fucking nightmare, and that’s before you even get to what Bossk themselves are doing.

This isn’t quite riff city, but there’s more build, more tension eked out of the Marmite-thick rhythm section. The last three tracks are devoid of vocals, and when Lira’s muted strings signal perhaps the heaviest section the band have ever recorded, it makes you feel like you’d never heard Cult of Luna before. Speaking of COL, Johannes Persson’s guest-screaming is mixed comically low during Menhir’s sludge marathon. Gratifying as it may be, it’s probably Migration’s most pedestrian moment.

Bossk have nailed that pull-and-release trick you only get from top-tier post-metal. When Palm Reader’s Josh McKeown lends his talents, it’s sparing but vital – that ‘In the void!’ halfway through HTV-3 is close as you’ll come to the philosopher’s mosh call. It’s stirring vocally and musically, Unberth’s electronica-backed ambience parting the clouds for 20 seconds of – almost – triumphant lead guitar. Which, come to think of it, encapsulates Migration. Hope is out there, but it’s not within our grasp.