1. Old Grey (6:17)
2. Witch Woman (6:42)
3. Sand (7:26)
4. Veneficae (6:31)
5. Trees (6:25)
6. Wolf Lord (9:08)
“Rock n roll ain’t noise pollution,” a wise man once said. Okay, you got me, it was AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. But, what if rock n roll really is noise pollution?
Introducing Boar, a six year old sludge-drone, psych-noise band from Oulu, Finland. If that seems like an odd combination of styles, well, let’s just say that Boar makes it work…very well. These four heavy lifters are getting praise their sophomore record Veneficae, which was released a few months back and on vinyl through Lost Pilgrims Records.
Boar is among the new breed of doomers who have managed to seamlessly integrate various metal sub-genres, leaving writers like us baffled when trying to describe them. While noise rock is my initial impression, Boar adds a weedian haze and psychedelic trance that spreads like smoke trailing off your joint. Veneficae is just the brush strokes in a unique landscape of sound that lets your imagination fill in the details. There are moments of static-charged ambience and harsh, filth-ridden sludge, sections of headbang-worthy doom riffs and elaborate psychedelic vibrations that will send you tripping.
The record opens with “Old Grey” and Boar waste no time in getting right down to business. The song comes crashing in low-tuned doom that brings an almost technical aspect, primarily due to Kalle Huttu hammering away on the drums. The vocals are nearly indecipherable amidst the fog of hiss and oozing dark sludge. Circling riffs take over and turn to an eventual spiral downward, with an air of post-metal prog.
It almost goes without saying that Boar could have completed Veneficae as one monolithic album of songs in the same vein as the first one, but they have far too much talent, far too many musical ideas, to do anything other than switch things up (variety being the spice of life, and all that).
In waltzes “Witch Woman” and I think you’ll be pleased with how the focus moseys away for a moment to a trip a little less heavy, but a hell of a lot catchier (and before long, all-consuming). Trippy, other-worldly psychedelia lures me closer, and I feel like I could be listening to a much more spacey version of Witchcraft. Eerie and illusory vocals float by and blend with the guitar tone so well it’s almost haunting. Boar are great at transitioning to different music styles while making it seem so simple. They travel from psychedelic rock to sludge metal and then back again very naturally.
The following track, “Sand” is the true highlight of the record. Drenched in ecstatic noise rock, assaulted by brute harshness from every corner, Boar have here a template for any band wishing to create something this bleak, while remaining rhythmic and, well, metal. The thing I enjoyed most is how Boar reintroduces the riff from the previous track into this song, then let it take off for the skies and revel. This song surges with the spirit of “Funeralopolis.”
The title track is next and full of those slow, Sabbathian riffs, met with harsh, distorted vocals. “Veneficae” transports me to a time before even my own existence. While the distortion adds density to this song, the guitar tone remains unblemished and unrestrained from the powerful shouts. There’s an addicting riff underlying the madness that has some serious Pentagram vibe.
“Trees” is a must-hear. Easily the most relatable track on the album, with an atmospheric, ethereal dance and perhaps the most soothing vocals we’ve heard so far. “Trees” gives me that feeling I get when I wake up from a short nap. Lightheaded, a bit dazed, slightly confused, still sleepy, while at the same time refreshed. Here again, Boar really strut their stuff, taking something that began light and airy and jamming until it grows stronger and stronger. The band’s way of developing songs is really awe-inspiring.
Many people will naturally try to fit Boar’s “Veneficae” in a box and give it a genre label. Just don’t. Whether your thing is hardcore sludge, psychedelia, or doom, you’ll find plenty of it to enjoy here. While they have mastered the art of successfully blending different sounds into a very unique creation, I cannot help but notice that the recording itself is a bit obscure, faint at times, with a muddy low-end. I’m not privy to the behind-the-scenes production details, other than it was “recorded by Boar in the Stoner Katakombs of Doom.” It feels like a live recording. This could work in their favor for some people (the band creates a massive wall of sound), but it can also make the riffs turn to puddles and lose some definitive quality. All things considered, Boar have engineered a powerful LP to add their nicely developing opus. Fans of Ufomammut, Caronte, Ethereal Riffian, Electric Wizard, Sleep, and Brisbane’s FROWN, get to know Boar! You may just count this among your favorite releases.