Release: April 14 via Profound Lore
Human, like Rome, lives and dies in decadence, overstimulation. This existential condition has been the wisdom stitched to the euphony of San Francisco’s Bosse-de-Nage over the last nine years, and it looms yet with the band’s latest album. Born tall in the light of a 2012 split with Deafheaven (The Flenser) and the beloved III (Profound Lore), All Fours, falling upon the ear as a harrowing swirl of post-modernism, analogue noise, experimental and black metal, is a behemoth adorned with textures and colors that can hardly be described and a cultural and sensory holiness fulfilled.
As I struggle to express its contour, it’s a perfectly experimental record, reveling with one hallux irrefutably in black metal’s ash at all times while the remnant body pirouettes and knots self with self in a circus of ravishing hue. Here, as always, Bosse-de-Nage demonstrate that they are capable of flexibility and import in composition and that they hold the exceptional technical ability to actualize composition in high, exact movements. Opener “At Night” digs into the brain with its caliber, hailing smartly like Mastodon’s Blood Mountain (Reprise), melting into the caterpillar fuzz of Smashing Pumpkins and freezing again in the orgasmic tempest loud harmony and dissonance make together.
Spinning, post-punk and post-rock gleam through tender, necking arms behind a matte on “The Industry of Distance” and “In A Yard Somewhere,” and for “Washerwoman” a summer grunge canters beside vocalist Bryan Manning’s ascetic spoken word until both voices consent to a vehement, majestic cough, Manning and the instrumentation together screaming to heartburst for the anomalous oral savior come with “her mouth full of lather.” As the denouement to this work, “The Most Modern Staircase,” introduced by the lithe noise which courses like an auxiliary spine throughout, is the purest song, a near-incessant volley thrashing in and against sentience.
Rhythm, structured upon the immaculate drumming of Harry Cantwell, transcends marks on All Fours. More than the necessary tempo and technique of black metal, rhythm here is a creative and gloriously evocative mode. Be it through the long javelin of blast beats or a clean, loose-wristed tattoo, a timed eroticism constantly respires, rebirths. Originating from a percussive crack, “A Subtle Change” blossoms ochre petals about the cartilage of twirling battery and punk guitar sawing through each other, energy populating a sky as the meridian comes. Perhaps the most affecting phrase of the album passes early in “To Fall Down” as bass and drum buzz and stroke under pleasurably small guitar chimes, all in bliss.
What is not effortless in consuming All Fours, the grape that sleeps upon the vine, is the nuance of beauty. The dynamic grace waving from each strum, the human moan at the ultima of each scream, these indulgent details must be gleaned and gathered as spare sweetness. The brilliance of the album is that it must be felt, heard and read first-hand for any of what is said of it to have meaning and truth. A hyper-sensual memory, it needs incident in the mind and heart.