Repeat Until Death

Written by: AP on 17/03/2016 16:49:55

In the wake of critical acclaim for an album, it must be difficult for musicians to decide on the subsequent path. Should you capitalise on the elements that were singled out for praise, and essentially do a rewrite with only subtle adjustments? Or should you clear the table, and attempt to redefine those elements so as to beckon adoration in other, new ways? At the risk of sounding too presumptuous, this was likely the situation Bombus found themselves in after releasing the masterful ”Poet and the Parrot” two-and-a-half years ago, and judging by the title, you could be forgiven for assuming they went with the first option for this latest album, “Repeat Until Death”. The music, however, rapidly negates such expectations by exposing a more straightforward and concise formula in which rock takes clear precedence over metal, and the songs never extend far beyond the four-minute mark.

It is a shorter and more accessible album then, but not to the detriment of Bombus’ allure. Rather, the band has taken notes from Kvelertak’s no-frills attitude of just penning simple, badass riffs and weaving those into razor sharp hooks. Opening track “Eyes on the Price” (sic) quite aptly goes straight for the chorus, and the way the two frontmen Feffe and Matte announce each line of it by roaring ”Well! Well!” or ”Yeah! Yeah!” onto a nasty Norwegian-style riff should have your attention sold within seconds. If not, then surely the stadium rocking “Rust” will do the job, dropping its chords a hammer on anvil as Matte and Feffe wistfully (and masterfully) chisel the lyrics onto your cerebrum like Ben Ward and Matt Pike’s love children, and then unfolding into a sweeping, flamboyant chorus that would do their countrymen in Grand Magus proud. A little later, you will dust off the old air guitar and swing your hair to the galloping heavy metal histrionics of the title track, taking note in particular of the lead guitar, which bends and wails with a beautiful resonance in the instrumental passages, and of the powerful and strained, soaring vocalisation. “Shake Them for What They’re Worth” meanwhile revisits the sludgy darkness of “The Poet and the Parrot” with a lumbering, doom ridden trudge and a melody dripping with sorrow, before “You the Man” completes the circle of standout moments by allowing bassist Jonas and drummer Peter (no last names provided) to lead the charge whilst Matte and Feffe weigh in with entropic, Mastodon-esque injections of melody and, you guessed it, another anthemic chorus.

If there is one thing to criticise Bombus for though, it is that one would wish their lyricism was on par with the musical ambitions. There are passages where the wording is unintelligible, and while it matters more in my book that the music sounds euphonic as a whole, it does raise an eyebrow to spot strange phrasing like ”to get in line for something that were you, straight from my hand to nothing is good too” in what is otherwise an excellent piece (the title track). And as a personal grievance, I would be lying to claim that the decision to omit the long-winding grandeur of songs like “Master the Reality” or “Into the Fire” does not sit entirely well with me, especially as “Repeat Until Death” manages to pack a handful of anonymous takes such as “I Call You Over (Hairy Teeth, Pt. II)” and “Get Your Cuts” into its measly 34-minute running length in their stead. Such objections aside, the record still ranks as one of the more lasting pieces of music this year, with the aforementioned quintet of highlights able to bear most of the brunt on their own. There is very little decidedly weak here, but prospective listeners should not expect another masterpiece in “The Poet…”’s class.

Download: Eyes on the Price, Rust, Repeat Until Death, You the Man
For the fans of: Bersærk, Mastodon, Orange Goblin
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.02.2016
Century Media

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