Release DetailsLABEL Scarlet
RELEASED ON 6/1/2007
posted on 7/2007 By:
The staff here at MetalReview pays attention to what is expressed in our Lashout section, and two things I’ve noticed that are often brought up as points of contention are 1) our reviewing too many ‘mediocre’ albums, and/or 2) albums from bands who don‘t adhere strictly to traditional types of established metal genres. Don’t think for a minute that we don’t sympathize with you having to sit and read (or not) such reviews, since we are the ones who write them, after all. This is not done completely in vain, for when siphoning through the crap we’re bound to hit some quality at some point, and Sweden’s Bokor is that quality we seek.
Giving a quick description of the Bokor sound would go like this; Take the lazy technicality of recent Confessor and add the deft dreariness of Katatonia, some occasional weirdness similar to Tool with the pummel of Yakuza’s heavier moments, and you‘d be getting warm. All the songs are textured in such a way that brings different tempos and varied metal styles together without sounding even remotely mismatched or aimlessly patched together. The verbose “The Island Of St.Menee (Beach Of The Dead)” is guided by busy vocal arrangements and a sparse but effective chord progression that brings hints of Middle Eastern (possibly North African) elements which are expanded upon further as the disc progresses, and works well despite being so wordy. It’s with “Best Trip” that the band displays a stoner-ish sort of groove and tasteful use of multilayered vocals throughout most of the track, highlighted by Carlberg singing crystal-clear for a few verses towards the midsection which adds a cool, somewhat graceful break and really helps bring a strong dynamic feel to things.
“Convert Into” pushes exotic elements further as Carlberg’s somewhat abrasive yet still strangely smooth clean voice anchors the song and adds complimentary structure to the loosely flowing melodies, but shortly after the three-minute mark passes, Bokor begins to steadily raise the heaviness factor and shifts into a Savatage “Summer’s Rain” power section, just before rumbling into hefty chugs and roaring vocals not too far removed from what you might hear from a post-hardcore type of band. To namedrop so many different bands in comparison is admittedly a little ridiculous, but Bokor really do tend to throw a lot of different ingredients into the mix here on Anomia 1 that remind me very strongly of other bands without directly taking pieces out of anyone else’s playbooks.
Lasting nearly fifteen solid minutes, “Migrating” is a massive construct that starts out with Rickard Larsson laying down some mellow basslines along with Erik Wennerholm’s bare percussive frame, giving Carlberg room to wind his breathy melodies through. As the song moves forward, guitarists Thomas Eriksson and Fedrik Johansson slowly build momentum and then relax a few times to allow the rhythm section and vocals to dictate the mood, and as the nine-minute mark rolls through a midpaced thrash beat and odd polyrhythmic breakdown segues into a chugging bridge before ending in a squeal of effects that drags on a bit as the song finishes. “Avert Your Eyes” has a brilliant vocal arrangement from start to finish, mixing rough melodies over a wide note range that, again, blends seamlessly with the contrasting riffs and abrupt time changes, ending the disc with a furor that leads to exhaustion.
Even with all the name-dropping, the combination of different styles and influences has produced an intriguing result on Anomia 1. Aside from a few overly busy vocal arrangements, and the overwhelming mass of “Migrating” which does tend to drift on occasion, I’ve been spending more time listening to Bokor out of desire rather than necessity over the past couple weeks. A few more tracks would have been nice, but as far as debuts go there have been few albums that have left me anxiously awaiting more material with such great interest. This is definitely for the metal fan who enjoys something with a ton of catchy groove, some bizarre twists, and stark mood changes without dealing with anything too pompous or dramatic. Very promising stuff.
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