Album of the Day: Bosse-de-Nage, “Further Still”

Much of the current discourse surrounding black metal revolves around the artists who transcend it. Deafheaven are often at the center of this conversation, driving a sharp divide between genre purists and those who throw around terms like “post-black metal”—even though the prefix “post-” offers no real insight into what a band might sound like. Not so with San Francisco’s Bosse-de-Nage: this formerly-anonymous quartet “transcend” black metal in a different way, reaching for something more celestial and unbound.

On Further Still, Bosse-de-Nage finally break through to the other side, delivering music that borders on transdimensional. They hold true to their signature sound on tracks like opener “The Trench” and “My Shroud,” drawing on black metal go-to’s like tremolo riffs, blast beats, and Brian Manning’s hellish vocals. Often, though, Bosse-de-Nage’s approach leans heavier on jittery post-hardcore than stately Mayhem worship. Portions of “Crux” could easily pass for a hidden gem on some long-lost Dischord compilation: drummer Harry Cantwell frenetically switches from hardcore stylistics to blast beats as Manning wails like a fallen screamo idol, every word throat-shredding and desperate.

Further Still is a relentless effort, pausing the chaos but once for a brief instrumental interlude that provides a momentary respite from the ferocity. And while the compositions alone offer more than enough for listeners to dissect, the lyrics elevate the album to brilliance. Structured almost as flash fiction or prose poetry, the words offer haunting glimpses of cosmic horrors, snapshots of places where everything is just wrong. “Once I’m too old to perform even these simple functions my only value will be of the nutritive sort,” Manning intones on “The Trench,” weaving a Kafka-esque tale of a commune’s endless digging. That a record with this much to chew on manages to be so compulsively listenable is a triumph.

-Michael Siebert

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