By Dr. Abner Mality

Very few bands can create the otherworldly feeling that Switzerland’s Bolzer does. “Hero” sees them actually progressing and changing their sound a bit, but I don’t think that change is drastic enough to alienate fans of their older material. The band has been just bubbling beneath the surface of the metal scene, but “Hero” should give them the push to be a toptier band.

These guys to me have a lot in common with Inquisition. Both bands rely on just two instruments to create a sound that truly seems to come from another dimension. Where Inquisition is dark and forbidding, there’s a kind of triumphant and positive feeling to Bolzer here. The bands are almost a yin and yang type situation, but complementing each other perfectly. On “Hero”, Bolzer is not quite so obviously death metal as they were before and the vocals have changed considerably. There is a brighter tone to the guitars and the singing is sometimes clearer and more folkish. It does take some getting used to and no doubt some knuckle-draggers will cry sellout. Whatever. This albums is still as heavy as lead. Despite not having a bassist, there is a constant low tuned rumble on most tracks that more than fills the void.

Three of the nine songs are brief instrumentals, leaving six lengthy epics to explore.  The sheer velocity and force of “Phosphor” makes it a standout cut, while “I Am III” is a majestic and transcendent riff-fest. The odd “Spiritual Athleticism” bounces along with a rubbery groove while last “long” song “Chlorophyllia” makes good use of those cleaner vocals, which at times remind me of Negura Bunget. Speaking of which, that’s another band that can be compared to Bolzer in some ways.

This is great and original stuff that’s deep as the ocean and heavy as a neutron star. Don’t miss it.